Published: Friday 30 November 2007

Thousands are fleeing from Nandigram in West Bengal as fresh clashes broke out between the ruling cpi-m cadres and anti-land acquisition activists on November 6. Four persons died and 10 were seriously injured in the violence. The official toll in the flare up--that began on October 27--was eight when the issue went to press (November 8).

Nandigram has been on the boil since January 2007 when protests against land acquisition for a chemical hub turned violent. In March, 14 people were killed in police firing as the state tried to regain control of the area. The conflict has now turned into a pre-panchayat poll battle between the cpi - m and the Bhumi Uchhed Pratirodh Committee (land alienation opposition committee).

Though the state has abandoned plans to industrialize the area, armed skirmishes between the warring sides still continue. The state government has sought Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) deployment in the area. While allies in the ruling Left Front say the move will be viewed as a failure of the state, the cpi-m leadership in Delhi says a neutral force will help stabilize the situation.

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