|IMRAN AHMED SIDDIQUI|
Nov. 19: After March 14, police in Nandigram had opened fire a second time seven months later.
However, the bullets on November 6 were directed at CPM workers who were firing "indiscriminately" from Khejuri at members of the Bhoomi Uchchhed Pratirodh Committee in Nandigram.
The Telegraph learnt about the incident, kept under wraps so far, from the police today.
There were no casualties, unlike the March 14 firing that left 14 people dead.
The CPM-Pratirodh Committee gun battle across the Tekhali bridge had started on the night of November 5.
The Telegraph had earlier reported how CPM cadres had hatched the plan to recapture Nandigram on the night of November 1 and begun executing it four nights later.
An Eastern Frontier Rifles jawan posted near the bridge was injured in the crossfire. When the news reached Nandigram police station on November 6, a team rushed to the spot.
"At Maheshpur, we saw Pratirodh Committee supporters armed with guns and ammunition sitting in a makeshift camp. When they saw us, they moved away. As soon as we arrived near Tekhali bridge, we heard gunshots and realised the bullets were coming from the Khejuri side," an officer said. "We then saw CPM cadres firing towards Pratirodh Committee members."
The police lay on the bridge for some time to avoid the hail of bullets, but the firing did not stop, the officer said.
"Seeing the police jeep, the CPM cadres started firing. Suddenly, the Pratirodh Committee activists started to retaliate and we had to open fire," he said.
An officer said the police fired "around 50-60 rounds". "The firing from the Khejuri side stopped briefly, but we did not have the courage to cross the bridge and go there. So we returned to the police station," he added. A diary was registered later.