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Framing the issue

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Political violence in West Bengal

While Naxalites pose a moderate security risk to businesses in Western Bengal as a whole, targeted assaults and political violence are major security concerns in Hooghly district, which sits in close proximity to the major economic centre of Kolkata. The violence between the Communist Party of India – Marxist (CPI (M)) and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) varies in intensity but includes targeted killings and large-scale riots including the use of firearms. The CPI (M) is the largest national communist party, and is part of the unofficial ‘Left Front’. The party ruled West Bengal for an unbroken 34 year stretch until 2011 when it lost to the Trinamool Congress (TMC). The CPI (M) initiated the land acquisition processes for the establishment of a steel factory and for a Special Economic Zone in Nandigram. Both of these were stopped by protests supported by the TMC, then in opposition.

Incidents between the two main political rivals are relatively frequent in Hooghly. Riots and targeted killings have occurred in different parts of the district and are not limited to one area or concentrated to one specific location. Violent clashes and protests can cause major interruptions to transportation networks and could negatively affect business supply chains in the region. Business operations have also been targeted directly due to public outrage over disputed land acquisitions.

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