Trinamul FIR against rival group 'syndicate'

Kanksa, Jan. 31: Trinamul workers in Burdwan have lodged an FIR accusing a rival faction-led syndicate of assaulting landlosers who refused to hand over documents to facilitate compensation from Essar Oil.

In all, 49 villagers in Kanksa who had given land for an approach road to the company extracting coal-bed methane in the area were asked to provide plot-related documents for the compensation.

But a section of Trinamul workers, the villagers said, has been asking for the papers so they can negotiate the compensation on their behalf. "When nine of us refused, they beat us with revolver butts and sticks," a farmer said.

Sheikh Sariful Islam, the president of the Trinamul's minority cell in Kanksa who lodged the FIR yesterday, said the party was against workers forming syndicates.

"Our chief minister is against any syndicate. But some of our workers have been trying to play middlemen on land-related issues with Essar. I have written to Mamata Banerjee regarding this," he said.

Sheikh Barkat, a local Trinamul worker who was accused of leading the group that assaulted the villagers, denied having formed any syndicate. He said the Trinamul workers wanted to help the villagers, "most of whom are illeterate".

Barkat is apparently a Class III dropout.

A senior Essar official in Mumbai said the company would discuss the compensation amount "directly with the villagers".

At the proposed factory of Matix Fetilizers nearby, Trinamul supporters on Monday prevented the vice-president from entering the plant demanding jobs and hiring of vehicles and construction equipment from their syndicate.

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