Press Statement Issued by Bhangor Andolan Sanhati Committee at Press Conference on January 5

January 7, 2018

January 5, 2018: Bhangor Andolan Sanhati Committee unequivocally condemns the state and non state terror unleashed on the people of Bhangor protesting against the illegal setting up of a powergrid project on their fertile, multicrop lands with scant regard to existing rules and laws.
We have noted with grave consternation the armed terror unleashed on the villages of Khamarait, Machhibhanga, Gajipur, Tona, etc. by gun wielding hooligans acting under the direct leadership of ex MLA Arabul Islam. For the past one week, repeated and concerted acts of such violence have occurred including attacks on media personnel. Despite multiple FIRs filed against Arabul Islam and his henchmen, the police continue to blatantly offer him protection.
Yesterday, around 100 activists — including students and intellectuals — on their way to Bhangor, to attend the public meeting called by the Jomi Jibika Bastutantro O Poribesh Raksha Committee, were illegally detained by the police at Baguiati PS. Anti powergrid activists of the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti of Assam were picked up by the STF and detained at Belghoria PS for 12 hours, in a show of the most rabid kind of authoritarianism by the government.
We apprehend further attacks on the villages affected by the powergrid project in the coming days, especially since the miscreants have the blessings of the police and administration, and are being egged on by Trinamool leaders including a minister who has openly threatened to crush the protestors like ‘insects’. The Chief Minister, instead of listening to the aggrieved villagers, is holding meetings with these Trinamool leaders.
This all out attack on the basic democratic rights of the people to life and liberty cannot be tolerated. Bhangor Andolan Sanhati Committee shall do everything in its power to resist this heinous onslaught on democracy. We shall take to the streets in surging numbers to protest against all attempts by the ruling party and Trinamool government to crush dissent.
Since the Chief Minister has announced in the Bidhan Sabha that the powergrid project will not be set up in Bhangor against the wishes of the people, we request her to stand by her own words. We demand:
1. Scrap the powergrid project in Bhangor, since the people’s mandate is quite unambiguous.
2. Initiate dialogue with the Jomi Jibika Bastutantro O Poribesh Raksha Committee.
3. Stop state and non state terror on the villages of Bhangor as well as against activists supporting the anti powergrid movement.
4. Withdraw all — patently false — cases filed against anti powergrid activists.
Anuradha Deb
Jayatu Deshmukh
Sankar Das
(for Bhangor Andolan Sanhati Committee)