Eight villagers shot dead in Lalgarh
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Last Updated: Saturday, January 08, 2011, 00:33
Kolkata: Eight persons, including a woman, were shot dead and 18 injured by suspected armed CPI-M cadres in Lalgarh in West Midnapore district on Friday.

The villagers, who had gathered to protest against demands made by Marxist armed cadre that they volunteer for night patrols and arms training, were fired at from a house at Netai village in Belatikri gram panchayat in Lalgarh police station area, sources said.

The killings triggered a blame game between CPI-M on the one hand and Congress and Trinamool on the other and drew a strongly worded statement from Governor M K Narayanan who said "it was a day of sorrow and shame" for the state and asked the state government to act "before reaching a point of no return".

In Delhi, Home Minister P Chidambaram shot off another letter to Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee asking him to "reschedule all appointments and visit Delhi immediately". Describing the violence in Lalgarh as a "grave incident", Chidambaram said he had received information that eight people were killed in the firing and 18 injured.

A senior West Bengal police official said there was a woman among the dead.

Villagers alleged that armed CPI-M cadre living in the house of a CPI-M activist Ranjit Dandapat for the past four months and for whom they were forced to cook and wash clothes, fired on them from inside.

Home Secretary Gyan Dutta Goutama said the incident was the result of a political clash between the Trinamool Congress and the CPI-M.

"The firing in Lalgarh is a result of a political clash between the Trinamool Congress and the CPI-M," Goutama told reporters at the state secretariat.

Left Front chairman Biman Bose accused both Maoists and Trinamool Congress of being responsible for the incident.

"We strongly condemn the despicable activity by the Maoists and the Trinamool Congress and ask the people of the area to raise their voice in protest. We also ask the administration to take strong steps," the CPI-M state committee secretary said in a statement here.

Mamata accused the CPI-M of resorting to the politics of terror by using its 'harmads' (armed cadre).

On the other hand, Congress demanded the resignation of Bhattacharjee alleging the administration had totally spun out of his control.

The fresh violence came days after a "letter war" between Chidambaram and Bhattacharjee on the unabated killing of political workers in West Bengal, in the run up to the Assembly elections which are due in May.


First Published: Saturday, January 08, 2011, 00:33

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