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Uneasy calm in front & town

Feb. 7: An uneasy calm prevailed within the ruling Left Front today, two days after the police firing in Cooch Behar. The state secretary of the Forward Bloc, Ashok Ghosh, said neither chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee nor CPM state secretary Biman Bose called him up during the day. Yesterday, Bhattacharjee had said in Delhi that he would talk to Ghosh after his return to the city.

The leaders of the “mini front” consisting of the Bloc, RSP and the CPI, are likely to meet tomorrow to mount pressure on the chief minister and his party to take action against police officials responsible for the firing.

Although Bose, who also wears the hat of the front chairman, had ruled out an immediate discussion, the allies would press for it. Both the Bloc and its closest ally, the RSP, will also hold their secretariat meetings tomorrow to chalk out their programmes against alleged police atrocity and one-party rule.

In Dinhata, life limped back to normal with educational institutions, offices, shops and markets re-opening after two days.

The subdivisional office had heightened police bandobast with the inspector-general of police (north Bengal), R.J.S. Nalwa, visiting the spot accompanied by Cooch Behar police superintendent Anil Kumar. Both of them refused to talk to reporters.

However, the areas from where the victims of Tuesday’s firing hailed are still seething. “We are not going to sleep till justice is done and the policemen punished,” said a Bloc supporter from Sitai.

Bloc leaders from Cooch Behar — Udayan Guha, Nripen Roy, Paresh Adhikary and Hafiz Alam Sairani — visited the homes of Indrajit Chakrabarty and Nirod Roy in Sitai and gave the families around Rs 2,000 each for the last rites.

Sources said the state committee would meet in Calcutta tomorrow and announce a compensation of Rs 3 lakh each for the five party supporters who fell to police bullets on Tuesday. The money will be handed over on February 11. The amounts will be deposited in postal savings accounts and the families will be able to draw the monthly interest, the sources said.

The party also announced that the Cooch Behar district workers’ convention would be held in Dinhata on February 10. Guha today said he had received a copy of the FIR filed by Dinhata subdivisional officer, Debabrata Chakrabarty. He said the complaint was against seven Bloc leaders and that his name appeared at the end of the list.

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