A Trinamool office at West Bengal's Goghat was attacked by villagers on Thursday over land acquisition by the railways in the area and the filling up of a lake. Some people, mostly labourers, were injured in the clash and at least two motorcycles set on fire. Police had to rush to the area to control the situation.
Unrest flared over the filling of a large lake by the Indian Railways which has to lay tracks across it to connect Arambagh in Hooghly district to Bishnupur in Bankura district. Some villagers objected to the filling of the lake. They want the rail tracks to be run along its banks.
The railways had acquired three acres of land, including the lake, in 2012 for the project. Compensation was offered to more than 250 people who owned the land. Out of those, about 180 took the compensation but around 90 did not. Some of them are demanding more compensation while others want another lake to be created.
"We are not against the project," said villager Bipasha Das, adding, "but we will not allow the lake to be filled. It is a source of income for many of us from fishing. There are no other big lakes in the area."
But why attack the Trinamool office? "We are investigating," said Hooghly district Superintendent of Police Sukhesh Jain. "It is not clear to us yet." Locals claim that Trinamool supporters in the area were contractors for the project, supplying construction material and labour. They had threatened the villagers with dire consequences if they blocked the work.
Local Trinamool legislator Manas Majumdar said: "If the work is not allowed by villagers, the railways will simply go away and take away the money it was investing in the area."