CPM politburo member Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee Sunday stirred a hornets’ nest when he admitted to complicity of his partymen in killing of nine villagers at Netai in West Bengal’s West Midnapore district during his tenure as the chief minister.
“Our boys made a mistake at Netai and I admit it. Incidents like Netai are wrong,” Bhattacharjee said addressing a Left Front rally in Midnapore.
Nine people were killed on January 7, 2011 after alleged CPM goons opened fire on them for refusing to join their arms training camp. The Calcutta High Court had, last year in February, handed over the probe to the CBI. The probe remains inconclusive.
The former chief minister also expressed regret at police firing at villagers in East Midnapore’s Nandigram on March 14, 2007, in which 14 people died. The villagers were protesting against forcible acquisition of land by the government, which wanted to set up a chemical hub there.
“We admit our mistake at Nandigram too. I am really sorry for the death of so many people at Nandigram. Loss of life has to be deplored irrespective of political leanings,” he said.
He, however, said that innocent people had been killed in Nandigram because of some Trinamool Congress leaders.
“If we commit mistakes, we admit it. But does the Trinamool Congress do that? Never,” Bhattacharjee said, adding there was total lawlessness in the state and atrocities against women have risen alarmingly under the Mamata Banerjee government.
He also tore into Mamata’s claim of bringing about all round development at Junglemahal. “No development has taken place at Junglemahal. No hospital, not even a health centre has come up there,” Bhattacharjee said, adding that it was the Left Front government that had started distributing rice at Rs 2 a kg among the poor there.
Commenting on the alleged primary teachers (TET) recruitment sacm, he said appointment letters were prepared at Trinamool Congress party offices. “Relatives of leaders, their employees, even their car drivers got jobs. It was a case of colossal corruption,” he said.
Meawnhile, the Trinamool Congress reacted sharply to the admission of “mistakes” by the former chief minister. “Buddhababu is saying these things because elections are knocking at the door and they want to win sympathy of the people. But the people of Bengal will not be moved,” Shubhendu Adhikary, Trinamool Congress MP from Tamluk told a news channel while giving his reaction.