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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Irate Mob Ransack Encroachers’ Shops, TMC Office Gutted

MALDA, 22 MAY: Pakuahaat under Bamangola police station of Malda turned violent when hundreds of local people set fire on the structures of the large market after demolishing many of them. The irate mob even set the party office of the Trinamul Congress and  on fire after demolishing it. INTUC office was ravaged too.A large contingent of police as well as fire brigade had to rush to the spot to control the unrest.

Pakuahaat, arguable the second largest haat (weekly village market) in the West Bengal is the centre of trade for a huge part of Malda and South Dinajpur. Set up on 122 bigha of land more than 100 year old the weekly market is held here on Tuesday and Friday. However, of late allegations were raised regarding the encroaching upon the land of the haat. Violating the norms of the market, permanent structures are being raised. Even the political parties are building their party offices.  

Tension was mounting up for last few weeks regarding the allegation of losing of lands of the market. Traditional owner of the market Amal Nandi of Kalna conceded, “The present area of the market is reduced to 20-25 bigha in place of 12-14 acre.” Mr Nandi, however, does not live here and a haat committee comprising traders look after the market. Yesterday, a meeting was held of the committee on this issue. It was decided, no further structures would be made in the market and soon a survey would e held to assess the encroachment. 

However, this morning again some people allegedly were making some structures. This infuriated the local people who began to demolish all the structures. Then they set fire on them. Police along with Fire Brigade rushed in to control the situation.

Khagen Murmu, local CPI-M MLA alleged, “Trinamul is not only making their party office there but also connived with promoters in a bid to sell the lands of the haat. Today’s protest was a spontaneous outburst of the local people.” 

However, Trinamul leader leader Amlan Bhaduri denied the allegation, “Had we have such intention we could not have made an office with bamboo. Rather it is RSP or INTUC who have made permanent structures in the area of haat.” He further alleged, “CPI-M backed promoters and traders were out to sell the lands which must be stopped.”

However, market was not held today and tension prevailed in the area. Superintendent of police Jayanta Pal said, “There was a whiff of grabbing the land of the market behind setting up fire. Police picket is on although none was arrested so far.”

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