Govt justifies firing at 'lawless people' - Affidavit in court today

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  • Published 25.03.07

Calcutta, March 25: The government will tell the high court tomorrow that “tremendous resistance from a large number of lawless people had prompted police to open fire at Nandigram on March 14.”

The 406-page affidavit does not say who ordered the firing. Instead, it tries to justify it by narrating the “horrible condition” that was prevailing in Nandigram since January 7.

On March 15, the division bench of Chief Justice S.S. Nijjar and Justice P.C. Ghosh issued a suo motu order directing the government to file an affidavit naming the officials who had asked the force to open fire in Nandigram. The court also asked what action should be taken against them if they were found guilty of issuing the order without provocation.

“The government has challenged the maintainability of the suo motu case as the Supreme Court has constituted a larger bench to decide whether a high court chief justice had the power to pass a suo motu order asking the CBI to inquire into an incident,” a law department official said.

About 10 days ago, during the hearing of a case relating to the Chhoto Angaria massacre, the lawyer representing Bengal asked whether the high court could order a CBI inquiry suo motu. The Supreme Court then constituted a five-judge bench to settle the issue.

On the night of January 3, 2001, CPM activists allegedly torched the house of Abdul Rehman Mondol at Chhoto Angaria, about 200 km from Calcutta. The Trinamul Congress had claimed that 11 of its supporters were killed in the incident and that the bodies were smuggled out of the area by the marauders.

A government lawyer said the affidavit to be placed be- fore the judges tomorrow was submitted to the court’s affirmation department on Friday.

When the Nandigram fir- ing came up before the high court on Thursday, the CBI inq-uiry report was placed before the judges. The bench decided to hear the case in detail on Monday and asked all the parties to the case to file affidavits.

The Medha Patkar-led National Alliance for People’s Movement and the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights filed their affidavits on the Nandigram onslaught on Friday. Two individual affidavits — by advocates Idris Ali and Kalyan Banerjee — will be placed before the court tomorrow.

The court will decide whether to make the CBI report public. “According to the right to information act, the people have a right to know the report,” said advocate Banerjee.