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Nandigram: HC orders fresh probe
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, November 16
The Calcutta High Court today ruled that the firing in Nandigram on March 14, which killed 14 persons, was not justifiable.

The division Bench comprising Chief Justice S.S. Nirjar and Justice Pinaki Ranjan Sengupta, which resumed its hearing today on the CBI inquiry into the incident, also ordered the CBI to conduct a fresh probe and submit its report to the high court within one month.

We were there, admit Maoists

Kolkata: Admitting their presence in strife-torn Nandigram, the Maoists said today that the outfit had “stood by the people there as (it is) a communist duty”. Stating that Nandigram symbolised the struggle against forcible land acquisition for multi-nationals and big corporate houses and against SEZ, the CPI (Maoist) said in a statement here, “We stand by the people whose life is at stake. We stood by the people of Nandigram as a communist duty.”

Incidentally, the Chief Justice’s division Bench earlier had ordered a CBI inquiry into the March 14 incident in Nandigram and accordingly a preliminary report was submitted to the court by the CBI within the stipulated period. But the report had been kept a closely guarded secret and there had also been no further hearing.

Yesterday, the Bar Association and the Lawyers Forum decided to boycott the Chief Justice’s court indefinitely protesting against the delay in delivering judgement on demand for a CBI probe. But today the hearing was resumed.

The division Bench, which looked into the CBI’s interim report, found that there was a need for further investigation into the firing and the CBI was ordered accordingly. The court further ordered that families of the 14 persons killed in March 14 incident be given Rs 5 lakh each and the injured persons Rs 1 lakh each as compensation.

The advocate general, Balai Roy, who was present at the hearing, was directed to convey the high court’s decision to the state government. The court asked the government to implement the order immediately.

Roy prayed for allowing the government some time to consider today’s judgement, but the prayer was turned down. Following today’s judgement, the Bar Association and the Lawyers Forum withdrew their decision to boycott the Chief Justice’s court.

Meanwhile, Congress leader Somen Mitra requested Sonia Gandhi to visit Nandigram or send an AICC team to Nandigram at the earliest. He also demanded that the Centre should take appropriate steps for protecting Nandigram against vandalism by CPM’s cadres.

Social activist Medha Patkar today demanded the withdrawal of the CRPF and the para-military forces from Nandigram, which she said would normalise the situation in Nandigram. She also decided to observe a 48-hour hunger strike on November 18 in the Esplanade area where the eminent economist, Amlan Dutt, would be present at the protest rally against the CPM’s atrocities on the hapless Nandigram people.

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