Source AP ©

4 farmers killed in continuing farmer-authority fights

Farmers displeased with the compulsory seizure of their lands in eastern India clashed with supporters of state authorities for a third day Wednesday. Four more people killed.

Sporadic violence has plagued Nandigram in West Bengal this year, with farmers fiercely resisting official efforts to force land sales at cheap rates so an industrial zone can be set up.

The latest fighting started Monday night when members of the governing Communist Party of India (Marxist) entered Nandigram and met stiff resistance from the local farmers' Land Acquisition Resistance Committee, state Home Secretary Prasad Ranjan Roy told reporters Tuesday.

Subhendu Adhikari, a legislator of the state opposition Trinamool Congress Party, said Communist Party supporters forced their way into Nandigram in a show of strength ahead of village council elections next year, and clashes erupted between the two sides.

By Tuesday afternoon two people had been killed in the violence, Roy said.

Fighting continued Wednesday with both sides using guns and crude bombs and two more people were killed and at least 10 others injured, local police chief S. S. Panda said Wednesday.

Police were not certain if the people who had died were supporters or opponents of the government.

At least 32 people have died in Nandigram since January over plans to build the industrial zone, which was to include a shipyard and petrochemical plant.

The plan was officially abandoned in March after 14 people died in battles with police. However, violence has persisted as the communist party, which has governed the state for nearly three decades, keeps pushing for the project.

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