Kolkata, Jan 29: West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress and the opposition Left Front Wednesday sparred yet again on Nandigram, a rural area in East Midnapore district where violence and police firing was a contributory factor to the ouster of the Left regime in the 2011 assembly polls.
Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) politburo member and Leader of Opposition Surjya Kanta Mishra said the recent charge sheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has vindicated its stand that the developments leading to the Nandigram firing seven years back were a “conspiracy” against the then government.
Mishra accused the Trinamool Congress of “double standards” as it refused permission to the CBI to prosecute six police officers involved in the firing while demanding interrogation of the then chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.
“The charge sheet is proof that the accusation that Bhattacharjee had ordered the police firing is baseless,” Mishra told media persons here.
Rebutting the allegation, Trinamool said people were massacred in Nandigram in 2007 and the former Left Front government would never be forgiven for that.
“If he is not responsible, then why did Buddhadeb apologise in Nandigram? Why did he order the firing?” asked Trinamool secretary general Partha Chatterjee.
Mishra said the CBI charge sheet mentions that only eight people were killed in police firing.
“According to the charge sheet, six others died of injuries sustained from sharp weapons which police do not possess. It (weapons) was with the miscreants who had assembled at the spot on that day (March 14, 2007),” Mishra said.
Fourteen people died when police tried to enter Nandigram, where violence flared up against the government’s plans to set up a chemical hub by acquiring large tracts of land.
Mishra said police tried to enter the area to re-establish the rule of law and mend a bridge demolished by agitators at the behest of the Trinamool, the Maoists and other forces to cut off the area from other parts of the state.
“The gathering was illegal and with ill motive. The standard operating procedure was followed during the firing,” he said.
“The charge sheet submitted after so many years vindicates our stand that a conspiracy had been hatched against the Left Front government,” Mishra said.
“The campaign after March 14, 2007, was aimed at maligning our government,” he said.
Mishra said the Trinamool government did not give permission to the CBI to prosecute six police officers involved in firing.
“In fact, these officers as also the executive magistrate who ordered the firing now occupy responsible positions in the state government,” he added.
Raising questions over the charge sheet, Chatterjee said it was “influenced” by the Left Front.
“The CBI has not carried out its responsibility in several other cases that it probed pertaining to the Left Front regime. The report has been filed under the influence of the Left Front. It is now being used to spread canards against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Trinamool,” he said.