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West Bengal villagers flee industrial hub site, fearing clashes
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West Bengal villagers flee industrial hub site, fearing clashes

Hundreds of villagers have fled from a planned industrial hub site in West Bengal, fearing clashes between supporters and opponents of the project.

Satangabari (West Bengal), May 3 : Hundreds of villagers have fled from a planned industrial hub site in West Bengal, fearing clashes between supporters and opponents of the project.

Villagers had clashed with police in Nandigarm, where the Communist-led State Government had planned a chemical industrial hub, to be built by Indonesia's Saleem Group.

The villages were opposing acquisition of farmland for the project. Two persons were killed on Sunday in fresh clashes, while scores were injured as rival groups - the state's ruling Communists and opposition Trinamool Congress - exchanged gunfire and ransacked property.

Locals alleged Communist workers supporting the project, came from neighbouring villages and attacked their houses.

"Last evening, at about eight, some people from the nearby village came in groups and attacked us. They entered my house alleging that there might be some arms and ammunitions and then ransacked it," said Ramesh Chandra Kumila, a resident of Satangabari, who was also beaten up by the assailants.

Farmers have stopped going to their fields, fearing attacks by rival political groups. Schools and government offices in the area too have been shut down.

Residents of the Brindabanchowk, Satangabari and Kaikholi villages have taken refuge in safer places, fearing reprisals.

"People have fled the village for fear of firing. Just a few of us are here so that we can help feed the men guarding the place," said Saheeba Bibi, a resident of Satangabari.

Saheeba Bibi has managed to collect scores of empty shells after every spell of violence that hit her village.

Nandigram has been the site of sporadic clashes ever since 14 villagers were killed in clashes with police on March 14.

The ruling Communists had to shelve plans for an industrial park at Nandigram, in the face of stiff opposition from local villagers and opposition groups.

ANI

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