Vehicles burned by people protesting against a Power Grid project near Kolkata
People protesting against the construction of a power sub-station at Bhangar near Kolkata hurled crude explosives, fired some shots and even torched vehicles today, the police said. This area has been seeing violence for the last one year over the project by public sector firm Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd.
Trinamool Congress leaders alleged the violence was the handiwork of a non-profit group that is spearheading the fight against the Power Grid project. Activists of the Bhumi O Bhumi Rokkha Committee, however, said they were the ones attacked by people with support from the Trinamool.
"Why were they carrying firearms in their motorcycle procession?" Trinamool legislator Rezzak Mollah said. "They are all Maoists who are creating trouble in the area over the Power Grid issue."
Another local Trinamool leader, Arabul Islam, said some people were carrying weapons in a van escorted by motorcycles. "The bombs exploded and the vehicle caught fire," Mr Islam said.
A huge police force has reportedly been deployed in the area. But on the ground, in many tense areas, no police personnel are visible, say locals. Roadblocks have been set up by villagers and activists and traffic has been disrupted.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has criticised the Trinamool over the violence. "They are using muscle power; they won't tolerate any opposition. We will hold a protest march on January 4," CPM legislator Sujan Chakraborty said.
West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh said the violence is the result of a turf war between Maoist elements and the Trinamool.
"But if Trinamool thinks they can use force to crush all rivals, they are mistaken. They will be thrown out like CPM. In the middle of it all, a central government project where Rs 100 crore has already been spent has been held up," Mr Ghosh said.