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Naxalites ransack Tata showroom
Rajnath held; Mamata begins fast
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Trinamool Congress supremo Mamta Banerjee speaks to BJP president Rajnath Singh during her hunger strike in protest against alleged unauthorised acquisition of farm land in Singur by the West Bengal government for an automobile company, in Kolkata on Monday.
Trinamool Congress supremo Mamta Banerjee speaks to BJP president Rajnath Singh during her hunger strike in protest against alleged unauthorised acquisition of farm land in Singur by the West Bengal government for an automobile company, in Kolkata on Monday. — PTI photo

Kolkata, December 4
Naxalites protesting against the eviction of farmers at Singur smashed and ransacked Tata Motors’ showroom on Shakespeare Sarari in the Chowringhee area here today.

The incident coincided with Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee’s beginning of fast unto death, demanding the withdrawal of the decision of transfer of farmland to the company, after the garlanding of Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in the Dharamtolla area.

Also, BJP president Rajnath Singh, who faced resistance from the police on his way to Singur today, was arrested near Dankuni along with his state counterpart Sukumar Banerjee and party secretary Rahul Sinha.

They were later released on personal bond but forced back to Kolkata. Social activist Medha Patkar, too, was forcibly detained at the Coal India’s guesthouse at Dankuni when she tried to sneak into Singur in an auto-rickshaw, after her two failed attempts to reach the disputed place on previous two days.

The Congress on the other hand decided to continue the stir on the issue separately instead of joining hands with Mamata Banerjee, who had invited the BJP president to participate in the TMC’s on-going agitation.

The SUCI, which will observe a Bengal bandh tomorrow, and 18 other like-minded parties, however, were supporting the TMC on the issue.

In the state Assembly, the issue figured once again when two separate privilege motions were put forward by the CPM against Mamata Banerjee and TMC MLAs, respectively, in connection with the destruction of Assembly property on November 25.

Speaker Hashim Abdul Halim granted both the motions but disallowed a similar motion put forward by SUCI MLA Debaprasad Sarker against the Chief Minister.

Incidentally, the Speaker also issued an order to stop the payment of salaries and other allowances to TMC MLAs till further notice as punishment for their vandalism.

Speaking in the Assembly and addressing mediapersons later, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee reiterated that there would be no rethinking on the decision of transfer of farmland at Singur to Tata Motors. But he showed readiness to meet all parties, including the TMC, to discuss the compensation and rehabilitation package for affected farmers.

He said they had already conveyed to Tata Motors’ CEO Ravi Kant that the process of land acquisition at Singur had been completed and that the company could take the possession anytime, adding that the government was now wanting to start the construction work on the factory immediately.

Meanwhile, NDA convener George Fernandes today left for Kolkata from New Delhi to join the protest. NDA sources said Mr Fernandes had left to join Mamata Banerjee-led agitation following the news of the arrest of Rajnath Singh.

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