The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Glass-pane guerrillas out of closet
- Govt to Tatas: We’re ready
Revolution over, on the run

Dec. 4: Naxalites vandalised a showroom selling Tata Motors cars in Calcutta this morning, gifting the state government proof to establish its assertion that “outsiders” have infiltrated the Singur land protest.

The smash-and-scoot operation lent credibility to chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s statement that Naxalites had incited the violence in Singur on Saturday. The chief minister said police were attacked with “bombs, arrows and even acid bulbs”.

The vandalism, reminiscent of the Naxalite tactics of the sixties and seventies, changes the complexion of the Singur protest and the state could now be emboldened to treat it as a law-and-order problem.

Unfazed by the ransacking, the chief minister said the government has invited Tata Motors to begin work in Singur “any day after tomorrow”, when fencing will be over.

Bhattacharjee said he had already spoken to Tata Motors managing director Ravi Kant. “I have told the Tatas to come. We are prepared,” he added. “Section 144 will remain in force there (Singur) for the next 20 days. The fencing work will be over by tomorrow. Tata Motors can come down any day after that and begin work.”

The raid at 10.15 am on AJC Bose Road also caught by surprise the other Singur players — Mamata Banerjee was preparing for an indefinite hunger strike that began at 11 am in the heart of the city and the SUCI was marshalling forces for a 24-hour bandh tomorrow.

Mamata has offered “moral support” to the SUCI bandh but said Trinamul activists would not be on the streets as “we are now on an indefinite fast”.

The attack on the Tata Motors distributor’s showroom was carried out by a handful of youths who jumped out of a taxi, with bags from which they pulled out iron rods and posters of an outfit called Revolutionary Students’ Front.

During the strike that lasted one-and-a-half minutes, they smashed glass screens and pasted posters eulogising “Marxism, Leninism and Maoism” on the walls before fleeing. Two of them entered the outlet and went on the rampage.

“Within seconds, they ran away,” an eyewitness said. Armed with TV footage, police are now looking for them.

In north Bengal’s Malda, Intuc and Yuva Congress supporters held a protest outside a Tata Motors showroom, locking up the premises. The police later helped open the outlet.

Bhattacharjee strongly criticised the Calcutta incident. “This is the handiwork of Naxalite outfits. We will not tolerate this. Strict action will be taken,” he said.

Mamata rejected his offer yesterday to hold talks but Bhattacharjee said the government was still open to one-to-one discussions with parties.

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