The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Compensation for Nandigram police firing

Calcutta/Tamluk, Oct. 24: The government today said it will give compensation to the families of those killed in the March 14 police firing in Nandigram.

“Yes, we’ll give them compensation,” home secretary Prasad Ranjan Ray said at Writers’ Buildings when asked whether the government was mulling such a move.

The demand for compensation had figured in peace talks senior East Midnapore offici- als had with Trinamul Congress MLA Subhendu Adhikary and other Bhoomi Uchchhed Pratirodh Committee leaders on October 22.

Asked if the government would give Rs 5 lakh to each family, as demanded by the committee, Ray said: “We haven’t decided on the amount yet. Let their proposal from that meeting come to us in writing.”

After the police firing in Khamman killed landlosers in July, CPM leaders had slammed the Andhra Pradesh government, though it announced compensation almost immediately. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s government had said it was willing to pay damages, but the party said the families of all victims of the land war should then be compensated.

The Pratirodh Committee, which has prevented the police from entering Nandigram’s interiors since January, have made four major demands to restore normality.

It also wants Nandigram block I to be taken out of the purview of the Haldia Development Authority.

Officials said the government is softening its stand on the demands. It is also likely to withdraw some of the cases lodged against Pratirodh Committee activists. Of the 1,900-odd cases against them since January 3, the administration will only pursue those where their involvement is beyond doubt.

However, the administration is silent on the demand to punish the police personnel involved in the March 14 firing that led to 14 deaths.

The government has also not reacted to the demand to bring Nandigram out of the HDA’s hold.

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