Kolkata: Sidelined Trinamool Congress leader Mukul Roy was prevented from entering Nandigram by his own partymen even as West Bengal's ruling party observed the Nandigram Divas (Day) paying homage to the 14 farmers who were killed in police firing at the height of the anti-acquisition movement in this rural area of East Midnapore district.
Stripped off of all party positions, Roy sought to lead a separate march instead of participating in the Trinamool organised martyrs' rally. But his convoy was prevented from entering Nandigram by Trinamool activists, who waved black flags and flashed placards with "Mukul go back" on them.
Roy's three attempts to enter Nandigram proved futile even as his party peers including secretary general and state Education Minister Partha Chatterjee, Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim and MP Subhendhu Adhikari among others attended the rally.
Forced to return to Kolkata, Roy later paid homage to the martyrs at the base of the Gandhi statue here and alleged that "three-four people" blocked his entry into Nandigram.
"Those who have done this, three to four people, I tell them may god forgive them.
"I feel it was unfortunate,... as an MP I yesterday (Friday) informed the director (Security) and the police superintendent of East Midnapore about my programme."
Roy said he was prevented from entering Nandigram in a similar way in 2007 during the Left Front rule. "Then my car was damaged. I couldn't enter. But people cannot be stopped in this manner. This is the lesson of Nandigram."
Even as he expressed his anguish over being denied entry, Roy acknowledged party supremo and Chief Minister (then opposition stalwart) Mamata Banerjee's role in the anti-acquisition movement that started in January, 2007, but snowballed into a major agrarian agitation that eventually led to a police firing March 14 that left 14 villagers dead and scores injured.
The stir eventually catapulted the Trinamool to power uprooting the 34-year old Marxist-led government.
"Definitely, Mamata Banerjee had a role in the movement," Roy said about the stir against forcible land acquisition by the erstwhile Left Front government for a special economic zone.
The Trinamool, however, refused to give any importance to the developments.
"We do not know why he came and went back. This is the party programme. If he informs us about this, then we will take necessary steps", Chatterjee told mediapersons.
Banerjee used micro-blogging site twitter to express her solidarity with those who took part in the anti-acquisition stir: "Today is Nandigram Divas. We salute the martyrs who died on this day in 2007. We can never forget Nandigram".
Credited as the architect of Trinamool's electoral success, Roy's relation with the party nosedived following his interrogation by the CBI in connection with the multi-crore rupee Saradha scam.
Going against the party stand that the CBI was targeting Trinamool leaders, Roy insisted he would cooperate with the probe agency even if it called it a hundred times.