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Dealers flee village fury
Broken windowpanes at a ration dealer’s house

Sept. 17: Villagers blocked roads and ransacked ration dealers’ houses at several places in Bankura today as Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee went into a huddle with top officials to review the situation.

“The government has or- dered a magisterial probe into yesterday’s police firing,” home secretary P.R. Ray said.

A home department official said the chief minister expressed “unhappiness” over yesterday’s firing. The police have been told to maintain “utmost restraint”.

Ray said the people had been angry at some ration dealers for a long time because they were not getting their foodgrain.

Over 20 ration dealers have fled their homes in Bankura and Bishnupur subdivisions, about 250km from Calcutta.

Villagers went on the rampage today at Sagrakata, Shindula, Saharjora and Chandai Bagan in Borjora and Dihipara in Sonamukhi.

Amaader chaal, gom churi kore borolok hoyechhey aar CPM ke chanda dichchhey. Aaj shob niye nebo,” (They’ve become rich stealing our rice and wheat and are filling the CPM coffers now. We’ll take away everything today),” said Riaz Khan, 50, who works in a sponge iron factory in Borjora.

The trouble started yesterday when the residents of Radhamohanpur, who were not getting rice or wheat at the local ration shop, went to submit a memorandum to CPM leaders holding a meeting against US imperialism. When they tried to draw the attention of panchayat chief Pabitra Mondal, he ignored them.

One of the villagers climbed the dais and beat up Mondal, triggering a mob frenzy against the leaders. “We do not understand the nuclear deal, we want food,” one of them screamed.

District party secretary Amiya Patra said the meeting was against the “Centre’s policies” and the nuclear deal and US imperialism. “We want to highlight these issues before the people,” said Patra.

Mamata Banerjee said a Trinamul Congress team will visit Sonamukhi, Borjora and Onda tomorrow.

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