Govt rejects judicial probe demand of Loba villagers

Dubrajpur KJRC members meet Partha, agree to govt inquiry but protests to go on.

The Trinamool Congress government on Friday rejected the demand for a judicial probe into Tuesday's alleged incident of police firing at Loba village in Birbhum's district Dubrajpur.

Rejecting the demand put forth by Krishi Jomi Raksha Committee, which is protesting the land acquisition by Bengal EMTA, a mining firm, Commerce and Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee told the villagers "to keep their faith on administrative inquiry ordered by the government".

The committee members who met Chatterjee at his Writers' Buildings office in Kolkata said they accepted the government's decision of not ordering a judicial probe into the incident, but they would continue with their agitation.

"We demanded a judicial probe which was turned down by the state government. The government feels an administrative inquiry is sufficient. For the time being, we will keep faith on the government but the movement will not stop. We will organise a big rally at Loba on Saturday," said Samir Putatunda, Party for Democratic Socialism (PDS) leader who is closely associated with the movement at Loba and its neighbouring villages.

Asked if the meeting was positive, Putatunda said that he would not term it as negative. "We have placed a seven-point charter of demands to the government. The minister said the government would consider their demands. We want a permanent solution to the dispute," he added. The other demands of the committee include compensation and proper treatment of those injured, withdrawal of cases against the villagers, beginning of talks between the project implementing agency and villagers to decide on land price, rehabilitation and employment.

Tuesday's clash left 33 people injured, including 27 policemen. The villagers had claimed that the police had resorted to firing to salvage the mining equipment of the EMTA that was seized by them 11 months ago.

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