Source AP ©

Soldiers crush uprising in Calcutta;curfew canceled

Curfew was canceled in the city of Calcutta, as soldiers still patrol the streets after the rebellion against alleged government violence.

Soldiers manned checkpoints throughout the city center and columns of soldiers and trucks loaded with troops rumbled through the streets in a show of force meant to restore order.

"The city is fast returning to normalcy," Calcutta police commissioner Gautam Mohan Chakrabarty told the Press Trust of India news agency. "Schools and colleges are opening. People have also resumed their normal life."

However, this chaotic city of some 15 million people was unusually quiet Thursday morning.

On Wednesday, riot police used batons and tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters who hurled rocks and bottles at officers and torched several vehicles and two offices of the West Bengal state's ruling Communist Party.

Scores of protesters and policemen were injured in the clashes, Aaj Tak television news channel reported.

The protesters accuse Communist Party-backed gangs of killing villagers leading a campaign against the state government.

The state has been in turmoil since the government announced plans last year to build a special economic zone, including a shipyard and a petrochemical plant, on 8,900 hectares (22,000 acres) of farm land in Nandigram district.

Violent protests by farmers, who felt they were being forced to sell their land at cheap rates, eventually led to the plan being canceled in March and state police withdrew from the area.

But violence has persisted and on Wednesday demonstrators accused the Communist Party of using gangs to try to seize back the district and of killing members of the local farmers' Land Acquisition Resistance Committee who had opposed them.

At least 34 people have died in clashes in Nandigram, including six people killed in fighting earlier this month.

Wednesday's protests were led by the All India Minorities Forum, a coalition of Muslim and Buddhist groups. Many of those killed in Nandigram were Muslims.

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