West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Thursday paid rich tributes to those killed in police firing on this day in 2007 at Nandigram during an anti-land acquisition movement that catapulted the firebrand Trinamool Congress supremo to power in West Bengal.
Fourteen persons were killed in police firing on a demonstration against land acquisition on March 14, leading to a nationwide outrage and the Calcutta High Court 'suo motu' ordering a CBI investigation into the incident.
Offering her "Heartfelt tribute to all those who lost their lives," she said in a social media message, adding that "Farmers are our pride and our government is working for their all-round development."
"On this day, in 2007, innocent villagers were killed in firing at Nandigram. Many bodies could not be found. It was a dark chapter in the history of the State," she said in a tweet message.
"In memory of those who lost their lives in Nandigram, we observe March 14 as Krishak Dibas (Farmers Day) every year and give away the Krishak Ratna awards," Banerjee said.
Banerjee, who had spearheaded campaign against acquisition of arable land for setting up industries at Nandigram and Singur by the then CPI(M)-led Left Front government in the state, reaped rich dividends in the 2008 panchayat elections with the TMC winning 50 per cent seats.
Following the year-long Nandigram movement, that had started with the death of six protesters in firing by alleged CPI(M)-sheltered goons on January six, 2007, the TMC gained huge political ground in the state, where the Left Front was in power since 1977.
Banerjee, who went to Nandigram several times to lead the protests despite violent attempts to stop her, was the lone winning candidate of her party in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections.
TMC went on to win 19 seats in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections and wrested power from the Left in the state in 2011 Assembly elections.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)