Monday, April 19, 2021

Eyewitnesses, initial probe indicate Nandigram incident may not be ‘deliberate’

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Preliminary investigation by the police and a section of eyewitnesses have hinted that the Nandigram incident, which left Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee injured, may not be deliberate or a conspiracy. Further investigation is, however, on police said.

The TMC, though, maintained that it was a ‘deep rooted conspiracy to kill’ the chief minister and demanded an independent investigation. The BJP too demanded a detailed enquiry.

The police have failed to arrest anyone even after 24 hours of the alleged attack on the TMC chief in which she sustained severe injuries on her leg and had to be rushed to the hospital in Kolkata.

“No one has been arrested till Thursday evening. So far, we have not found anything which could suggest that it was a deliberate attempt or a conspiracy. But investigation is still going on based on a complaint we have received,” said a senior police official of East Midnapore district.

A few eyewitnesses and a video, which surfaced during the day, suggested that the Trinamool Congress chief was injured in an accident when her white SUV hit an iron pillar jutting out of the road.

Banerjee on Thursday, in a video message from the hospital urged everyone to stay calm and show restraint and said that she would stick to her campaign plan that starts from March 13.

“I hope to return to the field in the next two to three days. Maybe I would have to take the help of a wheelchair,” she said in the video message.

“We want her to return to the field at the earliest. Else against whom would we score the goal. All her party leaders have shifted to the BJP. Only she and her nephew are left,” said Dilip Ghosh, state BJP president.

According to a section of eyewitnesses at Birulia Bazar in Nandigram, the front left door of Banerjee’s SUV, which was half open, hit an iron pillar jutting out of the road.

“When Banerjee saw crowd gathering on both sides of the road, she half opened the front door and stood on the car. The car, hit an iron pillar and the door closed with a bang. Banerjee got injured,” said Animesh Das, a local resident.

“There were at least two iron pillars, around the height of a man’s waist, jutting out of the road in Birulia Bazar. The car door hit the first pillar and this led to the accident,” Prabir Samanta, another local resident.

TMC leaders, however, rubbished such accounts and said that had the car hit an iron pillar there would have been dents or scratch marks on the car door.

“Some people are concocting a story that the car hit an iron pillar. This is false. There are no scratches or dents on the car door. Some people pushed the door in such a way that it hit Banerjee’s leg with great force,” said Firhad Hakim, state minister.

On Thursday both the BJP and the TMC met the Chief Electoral Officer in West Bengal. A TMC delegation is also scheduled to meet the ECI officials in Delhi on Friday.

“We request that a detailed enquiry is ordered. Also the video footage should be made available in the public domain to clear the air,” stated the letter submitted to the poll panel by the BJP.

TMC leader and state minister Partha Chatterjee said that there were signs that it could be an attack on Banerjee.

“Within 24 hours of the removal of the erstwhile DGP, an attempt on Mamata Banerjee’s life was made. Deliberate transfers at the top echelons of the police administration on the instruction and at the behest of BJP are having serious destabilising impact on the state administration,” said the letter. .

Meanwhile TMC supporters staged protests and blocked roads with burning tyres in many areas across West Bengal since Wednesday night. Pujas and yajnas for Banerjee’s speedy recovery were also held.

In some places heated altercations and scuffles broke out as workers of both the TMC and the BJP took out rallies and counter rallies.

“On Friday there will be protest rallies wearing black badges in every block across the state between 3 pm and 5 pm,” said Saugata Roy, TMC MP.

In the morning a BJP delegation went to see the chief minister at the hospital but was denied permission by the doctors.

“Banerjee is stable. She has bone injury in her left ankle and has been plastered. She has headache. Further investigation has been prescribed. Her sodium level is low,” hospital authorities said.

“We have not received any report on the incident so far. It is still under investigation,” P Nirajnayan, DG of West Bengal Police, told SNN.

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