The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Charred body in Nandigram ashes
- No clue to victim identity

Midnapore, April 1: Tension mounted in Nandigram today after members of the Bhoomi Uchchhed Pratirodh Committee recovered the charred remains of a body from a heap of cinder on the outskirts of Sonachura village.

The major part of the body was buried under ash and the other portion was a little away.

The headless body, reduced virtually to charcoal, was taken to the Nandigram police station in a cycle van.

“The body is so badly burnt that it is not even fit for a post-mortem. We can’t say for sure whether it is that of a man or a woman or how old that person was. A forensic test can tell that,” said Nandigram block medical officer Subhabrata Maity.

Western range inspector-general Arun Gupta said all that the police received was a charred bundle of bones. It has been sent for forensic examination.

The Pratirodh Committee took out a procession this morning to demand Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s “punishment” for the police firing that killed at least 14. Columns of protesters, which included women and children, snaked from Garchakraberia to Sonachura — the sites of the March 14 bloodbath — and dispersed on seeing a large posse of policemen on the outskirts.

Some of the people then marched towards the other side of Sonachura, where they found the body near Sankar Samanta’s house.

A mob opposed to land acquisition had battered to death Sankar Samanta, a CPM-supported member of the Nandigram panchayat, on the night of January 6. They had also set fire to his house.

After the body was found, the Committee members set fire to Samanta’s abandoned house.

Another mob went towards the Bhangabera bridge and dug up the road, which was repaired after the police moved in on March 14, at five places.

The Committee could not tell the police whose body it could be. However, they were sure that it was one of those “murdered jointly by the police and CPM cadres”.

“They murdered many of our supporters. Many of our people are still missing,” said Abu Taher, a Trinamul leader.

Although the committee has claimed that 27 of its supporters are missing since March 14, no complaint has been lodged with the police.

Pranab Samanta, father of 24-year-old Subrata, moved Calcutta High Court on Friday, saying his son went missing after being hit by a police bullet on March 14. “I saw my son fall to a police bullet. That was the last time I saw him. His name does not figure on the lists of the dead, injured or missing,” he said in the petition.

According to the police, Durgapada Maity, 42, who is said to have gone missing on March 14, actually cannot be traced since March 4.

“There was a report from Nandigram that Durgapada was killed while making bombs. When then Nandigram officer-in-charge Shekhar Roy went to his house at Raynagar, his wife Amita told him he had gone to South Khali on work. The OC had asked Amita to send her husband with his photo I-card to the police station the following day, but he never turned up. He is missing since,” a police officer said.

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