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Right N, wrong N

Midnapore, Feb. 2: Netai, a mistake. Nandigram, nothing wrong.

Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today said his government had not done anything wrong in Nandigram, backing up his comments with the findings of “investigations”, but admitted that cadres had made “a grave mistake” in Netai where firing from a CPM camp had killed nine persons.

Bhattacharjee’s aggressive stance on Nandigram at a Left rally in West Midnapore comes against the backdrop of a CBI chargesheet that has accused 166 villagers of brick-batting police on March 14, 2007, before the police firing killed 14 land-acquisition protesters.

The chargesheet, which has drawn the ire of Mamata Banerjee, mentions that the police had tried to control the “unlawful” gathering with mike announcements, lathis, rubber bullets, tear-gas shells and firing in the air before resorting to “target firing”.

Referring to a “Trinamul-Maoist trap” in Nandigram, Bhattacharjee said at the rally: “Investigations are now revealing that lies and canards had been spread.”

“We did not do anything wrong in Nandigram. The police did not go there to snatch land from farmers. They had gone there to establish the rule of law. When I heard that the people of Nandigram did not want to give their land, I decided that no acquisition would be done there,” the CPM politburo member said.

Referring to incidents before the police firing, Bhattacharjee said: “The Trinamul-Maoist combine dug up roads, set fire to houses and prevented the police from entering the place. The police then went there to establish the rule of law. I have already apologised for the police firing. I apologised because innocent people died, falling into the trap of the Trinamul-Maoist combine.”

Bhattacharjee struck a different note on the Netai firing, which happened months before the 2011 Assembly polls.

“Our boys made a mistake in Netai. It was a grave mistake. This should not have been done. I admit the mistake.”