Randeep Ramesh in New Delhi
Tuesday November 13, 2007
A bloody standoff between Communists committed to emulating China's economic success and farmers opposed to the establishment of a vast industrial zone in eastern India ended yesterday after leftwing activists stormed a series of villages - leading to accusations of murder and rape.
Since the beginning of the year villagers have blocked roads and built barricades to keep out the local administration, which, they complained, had been determined to sell off farmland at cheap rates so that a petrochemical hub could be set up. West Bengal has been run for three decades by the Communist party, which has become increasingly business friendly. Returned to power for a seventh term last year on a programme of industrial expansion, Communist leaders have taken their cue from China to attract foreign corporations.