| Mamata Banerjee wags her finger at a policeman on being stopped on her way to Chinsurah. Picture by Amit Datta
Singur/Calcutta, Feb. 5: Section 144 returned to Singur today as villagers fought police again and sawed off fencing posts around a portion of the Tata Motors plot.
Save Farmland Committee members snatched away six comrades who had been detained by police and set fire to one of their vehicles.
They placed concrete sleepers on the railway track at Kamarkundu, 2 km from the Tata site, disrupting services on the Howrah-Burdwan cord line for an hour. In the Seoraphuli-Tarakeswar section, trains were disrupted till evening.
Mamata Banerjee, who was supposed to go to Singur this afternoon, cancelled her trip after being told that the police would not let her hold a meeting there.
In Mamata’s absence, Trinamul Congress MLA Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay tried to hold the meeting defying the prohibitory orders clamped last midnight.
Police used lathis to disperse the mob and fired teargas shells. At least 25 people, including media personnel and policemen, were injured amid allegations of brutality.
“I will inquire into the alleged atrocities,” said the Hooghly police chief.
At Beraberi, however, wives of farmers severely beat up two policemen with sticks, brooms and rods when they went looking for drinking water.
Trinamul supporters sawed off about 30 fence posts in Bajemelia and set half a dozen on fire. That is merely 0.1 per cent of the 30,000-odd sal posts used to fence off the site for the small-car plant.
Home secretary Prasad Ranjan Ray said at Writers’ Buildings the prohibitory orders would be in force till the midnight of February 14.
The chief minister is slated to address a public meeting in Singur the following day.
Trinamul and the Jamait Ulema-i-Hind had planned rallies on February 10 and 7.
“Let us see who stops us. The promulgation of section 144 is illegal, unconstitutional and political,” Mamata said after she was halted on her way to Chinsurah, where the injured have been hospitalised.
Asked to react to the incidents of violence, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said: “Shob thik hoyey jaabey (Everything will be all right).”
Trinamul will bring out rallies and block roads tomorrow in protest against today’s “police excesses”.
Party leaders attributed the sudden escalation in agitation to a plan chalked out at a meeting on January 29.
“The Singur agitation is still alive… there will be protests and not all of them would be announced in advance,” Mamata said.
A senior leader added that the “guerrilla warfare” around Singur will continue.
Stopped on her Chinsurah trip, a furious Mamata called up Priya Ranjan Das Munshi in Delhi and urged him to take the matter up with Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
“Our democratic rights are being curbed. Priyada assured me that he would speak to (home minister) Shivraj Patil,” Mamata said.