| A girl writes her Class XII HS exam in Nandigram on Monday. The English test for Class XI, supposed to be held on Tuesday, has been postponed across the state because of a Maoist bandh in Purulia, Bankura and West Midnapore . Picture by Pradip Sanyal
Calcutta/Nandigram, March 19: The government today notified that it would not acquire land in Nandigram, setting off “victory” celebrations in villages still coming to terms with Wednesday’s bloodbath.
The East Midnapore district magistrate, A.K. Agarwal, was asked yesterday to issue the notification in both Bengali and English, home secretary P.R. Ray said.
The order, issued around 10.30 this morning, said: “The state government will not acquire any land for industries in Nandigram.”
Police tonight began a staggered withdrawal from their camps in Sonachura and Adhikarypara.
The government had agreed at a Left Front meeting on Saturday to pull out the police in phases from Nandigram and not to acquire land there.
“Copies of the order will be forwarded to all government offices, including police stations, block land and land reforms offices, gram panchayat offices, agriculture development offices and even post offices,” Agarwal said. “I’ve asked the Nandigram BDO to forward it to all political parties at the local level.”
Asked if the freeze on acquisition was temporary, he said: “No; it’s for good.”
The Bhoomi Uchchhed Pratirodh Committee and its supporters celebrated the news with sweets, and residents who had fled trooped back home.
“Today we have won,” said farmer Jagannath Bera, 42, who had left Sonachura for Garchakraberia after the firing.
But CPM supporters, just back home two-and-a-half months after being driven out by committee workers, began trudging back to the Tekhali party camp and CPM-dominated Khejuri. “I don’t know when we can return. There won’t be any police to protect us now,” said Sumita Samanta, 30.
Pratirodh committee leaders laid down more conditions for the government: “exemplary” punishment for officials behind the firing, compensation for families of the dead and injured and dropping of riot charges against agitators.
“Our movement will go on till our demands are met,” said Trinamul leader Abu Tahir.
With the CBI probe unearthing a possible CPM cadre role in the violence, the government today ordered an executive inquiry. Ray hinted that the new probe, by Burdwan divisional commissioner Balbir Ram, would try to find out if any other group was involved.