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It's akin to Nandigram killings: Mamata

Staff Reporter

— Photo: AFP

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee addresses a gathering in Kolkata on Friday to pay homage to three party activists who were allegedly killed by Communist Party of India (Marxist) cadres.

KOLKATA: Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has alleged that Communist Party of India (Marxist) cadres were responsible for the violence at Netai village near Lalgarh in West Bengal's Paschim Medinipur district on Friday in which at least seven persons were killed

Comparing the incident with the “mass killings at Nandigram,” she said: “Bullets were fired from an armed camp that was set up to house CPI(M) harmads. They have blocked off Lalgarh following the incident and not allowing journalists to enter the area. With reports of firing still continuing in the village, they are trying to recreate another Nandigram-like mass killing in Lalgarh now.”

(At least 14 villagers were killed in police firing at Nandigram in Purba Medinipur district on March 14, 2007, when people tried to stop the police from entering the village in protest against the State government's decision to acquire land for setting up a chemical hub.)

Mourning procession

Ms. Banerjee was addressing a mourning procession here to condemn the killing of three Trinamool supporters in two separate incidents in Bardhaman district on Wednesday and Thursday.

The Trinamool chief asked party workers to remain prepared to take out a “bigger mourning procession” in Lalgarh soon.

Against bandh

She said she was against calling a bandh over the issue as it would cause inconvenience to students whose final examinations were on. The Trinamool would observe “condemnation day” on Saturday. She appealed to all citizens, especially intellectuals, to participate in protest marches.

“Killings and bloodshed has become a routine affair in the State and human life is of little value. I urge my party workers and supporters to remain calm in the face of such violence as we will reply to bullets with ballot,” she said.

Ms. Banerjee said she was ready to renounce her quest for political power if peace and stability returned to the State.

‘Body found mutilated'

The body of one of three killed was found in a mutilated condition that was “beyond recognition,” she claimed. The sight of the body left her “flabbergasted with shock and grief.” “It is the handiwork of frenzied harmads,” she said.

Slamming the CPI(M)'s charge that she was engaged in ‘politics over the dead,' she said: “When you kill people with guns and brutally mutilate their bodies in an act of vengeance, it is not politics but it is so when we show respect to the dead and their families.”

Referring to her party's complaints to the Prime Minister and Union Home Minister on alleged atrocities perpetrated by the CPI(M) across the State, she said that though justice was denied so far, she still believed in democracy and the power of the ballot.

“I do not believe in military rule and will reply to the bullets fired at us through the ballot. Even if myself and all my workers are killed in this struggle, we will not leave the path of democracy,” she added.

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