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Nandi hearing before withdrawal decision

Haldia, Feb. 23: A Haldia court has said it will hear complainants in around 100 cases against Nandigram anti-land acquisition protesters “before a decision is taken” on whether the cases should be withdrawn, as requested by the state.

The government had on February 17 submitted a petition at the Haldia additional chief judicial magistrate’s court seeking withdrawal of the cases.

The complainants have been asked to appear before the court and file their replies on March 6 and March 15.

“I am of the view that the de-facto complainants should be given an opportunity of being heard before disposal of the instant application,” additional chief judicial magistrate Debkumar Sukul said last week.

The appeal on February 17 comes in the wake of a government decision to withdraw all cases police had filed against anti-land acquisition protesters in Singur and Nandigram between 2006 and 2009.

The cabinet had on January 31 approved the proposal to withdraw 122 cases related to the Singur movement and 303 cases linked to Nandigram.

The move, if cleared by courts, will help 4,000 people in Nandigram and 300 in Singur, all of whom are Trinamul supporters.

Police sources said that during the land protest in Nandigram between 2007 and 2008, criminal cases were filed against at least 500 Trinamul leaders and workers. Among the accused is Abu Taher, the chief of the Nandigram panchayat samiti.

Lawyers in Haldia said the withdrawal of the cases were important for Trinamul as many of the accused are grassroots workers who could play an important role in the Lok Sabha poll preparations.

“Before the Lok Sabha polls, the police will work according the Election Commission’s guidelines. Many pending warrants would be executed. It is important that the cases against Trinamul workers are lifted at this juncture,” a lawyer said in Haldia.