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Farmers on vigil, outsiders stay off
- Lights on, villagers & police together

Singur, Dec. 9: Farmers who have handed over their land to the government will protect the fencing around the plot acquired for Tata Motors to prevent outsiders from fomenting further trouble.

The vigil will be round-the-clock and aided by high-powered halogen lamps after sundown.

The administration today began setting the lamps along the fence close to areas from where mostly Naxalite leaders had commandeered an attack on police on November 30.

That was the second day since fencing had begun.

“Apart from the fence, adjoining pockets where potential trouble can brew — such as bamboo-groves and bushes — are also being illuminated because outsiders may take advantage of the darkness and hide there,” said M.V. Rao, the industries director. “Once the illumination work is over, keeping a 24-hour watch will not be a problem.”

The idea of illuminating the fencing was adopted after an investigation revealed that hundreds of outsiders, including CPI (Maoist) activists, played a key role in sparking last Saturday’s mob fury, to quell which the police had to wield the baton and fire teargas shells and rubber bullets.

Farmers who have already handed over their land to the government for Tata Motors’ small-car project played a lead role in highlighting to the administration the need for vigil and proper lights.

“They took a lesson from the violence,” said an official of the Hooghly administration who is supervising the illumination work in Singur, about 40 km from Calcutta.

“Hundreds of the farmers came forward to tell us that they would help us protect the land,” he added.

Surhid Baran Dutta, a resident of Khasherbheri, said: “We’ll be with the police through the night. In the first phase, the part of the fence that falls in the Khasherbheri and Beraberi areas will be illuminated because the mob assembled at these two places last Saturday.”

Today, local electricians were seen installing the lamps focusing on the fence.

Four transformers have been installed for uninterrupted power supply.

“I have been asked to supply 130 lamps on rent for this part. And government officials told me to be prepared to give more,” said Raju Das, who runs an electrical business in the area.

Payloaders are creating a temporary road along the fence. “The police and the villagers will use the road for patrolling on foot or on a small vehicle,” said Dutta.

A CID team spoke to the residents of Khasherbheri and Beraberi today to ascertain if there were any police atrocities on November 30.

It will have to submit a report to the state human rights commission.

“We are talking to the villagers and also trying to find out what the circumstances were like on that day,” said inspector-general D.P. Tarania.

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