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1000 protest in Kathikund

Dumka, April 13: The Trinamul Congress led by Mamata Banerjee may be focusing on wresting power in Bengal, but its supporters in Jharkhand are willing to repeat a Nandigram in Kathikund to prevent a proposed 1,000MW thermal power plant from coming up.

More than two years since the infamous Kathikund police firing on protesters opposing the proposed plant being set up by Calcutta-based and RPG Group-owned CESC Limited, anti-displacement activists led by Devolina Chakravarti addressed a gathering of nearly 1,000 tribals at Chapadhar village yesterday.

Chakravarti, a Trinamul supporter who played an active role in opposing the industrial project in Nandigram, appreciated the resistance of the people in Kathikund to the proposed power plant.

“If the state has guns, we have the unity to fight any move to forcibly acquire our land,” Chakravarti told the villagers, including women, who had assembled carrying traditional weapons in hand.

The remote gathering to mobilise villagers was the brainchild of zilla parishad member Munni Hansda, who has been championing the anti-displacement movement in Kathikund.

According to Hansda, it was organised in the wake of the RPG Group’s recent move to start drilling work at a captive coal block allotted to it at Mahuagarhi for the project.

“It is surprising that the state government on the one hand terms the December 6, 2008, incident involving the protest march a public movement, in which two tribals were killed and several received bullet injuries. On the other hand, the government is still intent on going through with the project,” Hansda said, while referring to the compensation of Rs 1 lakh recently awarded by the district administration to the dependants of the victims.

Hansda, who had unsuccessfully contested from the Shikaripara Assembly seat in 2009 on a Trinamul ticket, demanded withdrawal of cases lodged against several protesters and sought compensation for those injured in the police firing.

The gathering included villagers from Shikaripara block, where attempts by JSPL to set up a 2,000MW power plant have been met with similar protests.

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