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Bhangar limping back to normalcy after two protestors die in clashes

A day after the clashes at Bhangar over the construction of a Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL) sub-station, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday instructed the police to identify the “outsiders” who had provoked the people and flush them out even as stary incidents of violence were reported on Wednesday.

Banerjee held a high-level meeting with top police officers, including the director-general of police and Kolkata police commissioner, during the day.

Tuesday’s violence claimed the lives of two people. While the villagers claim that the police opened fire on the protestors, police said the firing took place between two groups of protesters.

Locals said that after the clash with police and RAF officials on Tuesday, over a dozen villagers have gone missing. “The government must probe the whereabouts of the missing people and ensure that they return home soon,” said Abul Khair, a protestor.

One of the deceased in Tuesday’s violence was Mofizul Khan, a 26-year-old Polerhaat resident, who was a truck driver. He had returned from work and was going to the nearby grocery shop when he was shot.

Alamgir Ali Mollah (25) was the other victim. “He heard that a masjid had been attacked. He had been there to look at it when he was killed. He fell after being hit by a police vehicle and was then shot twice. This was done to make sure that he was dead,” said his father Ketab Ali Mollah.

There are rumours that goons dressed up as police attacked the people. Villagers had found several police uniforms lying at different places of Khamaraiet in Bhangar.

Political leaders had been quick to respond. Leaders of TMC, Congress and CPI (M) visited the area on Wednesday. TMC vice president Mukul Roy held a meeting with TMC strongman Arabul Islam and MLA Sabyasachi Dutta. “There will not be any forceful land acquisition by the government. That is the stand of the government. If people doesn’t want, the project will be shifted somewhere else,” he said.

State Congress president Adhir Chowdhury took stock of the situation and blamed the the administration. “Mamata Banerjee had come to power riding on similar land acquisition protest at Nandigram and Singur, but in her own reign, she is repeating the same scenario. We have assured people here that we will be by their side if they need any help. We demand a CBI probe into the matter,” he said.

CPI (M) MP Md Salim said that he had visited the houses of the two persons who died in the clashes on Tuesday. “A sense of terror is still there. People here have lost their trust on government, police and the ruling party,” he said.