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Cordon of new faces in Singur
- In Tapasi’s village, vigil with a Naxalite whiff

Singur, Dec. 20: Since the morning Tapasi Malik was found in flames, there has been a set of people on ceaseless vigil in Bajemelia, watching over villagers, monitoring the movements of visitors and almost forming a protective circle around the cluster of huts.

Don’t mistake the guards for security personnel in mufti. They are members of Naxalite outfits that have converged on Singur over the past month or so.

The western part of Bajemelia village — where Tapasi’s small hut is located — is virtually cordoned off by youths in their early 20s and their leaders.

They are there in a huddle in front of the club from where Tapasi’s house is metres away or on the fields, whichever way you look.

Among them are students of Calcutta and Jadavpur universities.

“We know that many young people are camping there and staying with the villagers at night,” said a CID officer probing the teenager’s murder on Monday.

“If we try to search each and every house, there is possibility of a law-and-order problem,” said another officer.

According to reports with police, the boys and girls camping here for the past couple of weeks were called back to Calcutta and a fresh group of 20 arrived today.

The police had earlier said that Naxalites had led the attack on police when the plot acquired for Tata Motors was being fenced off.

The “outsiders” in front of Tapasi’s house refused to reveal their identity or be drawn into a conversation.

They even refused to show the narrow muddy stretch leading to the victim’s house.

“I do not know where her house is. You ask someone else,” said a man in his mid-20s, sitting on a motorcycle barely 50 metres from Tapasi’s house.

Others sitting on a concrete slab at the intersection of the village roads echoed him.

A 15-year-old finally showed the way to the house.

Eighteen-year-old Tapasi had become a hero of sorts for the small section of Singur still resisting Tata Motors’ small-car project. She was throttled, dragged to the Tata plot, dumped into a pit and set on fire.

There has not been much headway in the probe into the gruesome killing. “We do not yet know the reason behind the killing,” said CID inspector-general D.P. Tarenia. “But it seems that the killers were known to Tapasi.”

The state government had yesterday sought a CBI inquiry into the incident.

A CBI team visited Bajemelia village this evening and spoke to Tapasi’s father Monoranjan.

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