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Mamata bristles at Nandi parallel

Calcutta, Nov. 7: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee today sought to quash comparisons of yesterday’s police action in Dubrajpur with what happened in Singur and Nandigram, apparently wary of the fallout of such parallels on next year’s panchayat polls.

The chief minister also tried to drive home the point that the incident was not the fallout of “land-related problems”.

While speaking to journalists at Writers’, she hinted at the involvement of “outsiders” and the “coal mafia” in yesterday’s clash between villagers and the police over taking control of an earthmover that the residents had held on to following a land dispute.

“There are some people who are comparing this with Singur and Nandigram. This is not at all like Singur-Nandigram,” Mamata said.

The chief minister insisted that no police firing took place in Dubrajpur’s Loba, as alleged by villagers. Five years ago, police firing in Nandigram over land acquisition claimed 14 lives, which ultimately led to the Left’s ouster from power.

“An unfortunate incident took place in Dubrajpur. Somebody instigated (it). One policeman is fighting for his life, three others are in serious condition. The home secretary was right, the police did not open fire.”

Mamata praised the police for showing “patience” despite “provocation”. “The police did not overreact. They kept their cool and did not open fire. They showed patience.”

The Trinamul chief stressed that the clash was not over land, iterating her government’s hands-off policy on acquisition.

“There was no specific information (of the police going to Loba village). During confrontation such things (injuries) happen. This was not a case of land-related problems. The government is by the side of the farmers and the common people…. The question of acquiring land does not arise.”

“The villagers were instigated. We will find out who did it, whether outsiders or the coal mafia. We will not take any action against the villagers,” she added.