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Naxalites incited Nandigram and Singur flare-up, Buddha tells P

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 22, 2007

KOLKATA: West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has submitted a report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in which he has squarely blamed the Naxalites for inciting farmers not merely in Nandigram, but also in Singur, against relinquishing their land for industrialisation.

While the CPM and West Bengal government have always blamed the Naxals for the violence in Nandigram, this is perhaps the first time they have alleged their involvement in Singur as well. The note, which was submitted on Thursday, also talks about the alliance between Trinamool-backed BUPC and the Naxals.

“It may be noted that Left wing extremists (LWE) have stepped up their propaganda pertaining to the espousal of the causes of farmers by raising the issue of displacement of farmers from their own land for industrial and infrastructural projects. A frontal organisation of LWE activists named the Gana Pratirodh Manch carried out propaganda against the acquisition of land in Singur and have also generally opposed land acquisition for large projects throughout the state,” says the report.

The note goes on to add that Maoist activities have spread rapidly to areas in and around Nandigram. “It has been confirmed that some CPI (Maoist) activists started arms training in Nandigram to build up a base there, and in this effort, they have also received necessary support from the Bhumi Uchhed Pratirodh Committee.”

The chief minister’s comments assume significance, especially in the backdrop of the ongoing CBI investigations in Nandigram. Bhattacharjee, on the sidelines of his meeting with the Prime minister, had also hinted that CBI had leaked information indiscriminately to the media about its report on the killings of the March 14 incident and that the state government would take up the matter with the Centre immediately.

Explaining the extent of Maoist menace in the state, Bhattacharjee said, “the major security threat being faced by the state in the past few years have been linked to left wing extremist activities largely in the districts of Purulia, West Midnapore and Bankura.

After the merger of the MCC and the People’s War Group, the LWE activists in the state have become more active. All districts bordering West Bengal, who share a common boundary with Orissa and Jharkhand are worst affected by Maoist insurgent activities.

Laying down the details of Maoists in the state, chief minister stated that compared to other affected states, West Bengal has witnessed less of violent activities from the LWE groups. In 2005, there were 13 incidents of LWE violence in which 10 CPM activists and one policeman were killed. In 2006, there were 27 incidents in which 9 CPM activists were killed.

The report also says that LWE activists have been targeting prominent CPM leaders and some important civilians in the state. There are also suggestions of close linkages between Maoists and KLO/KPP groups of North Bengal, whose nexus with ULFA has already been established.

Economics Times

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CBI files rape cases against CPM activists in Nandigram

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 20, 2007

NEW DELHI: The CBI has shattered the CPM’s pretense of political morality by holding its activists responsible for rape and murder in Nandigram. The CBI has filed cases against CPM men for the alleged rape of a mother and her two daughters. The case concerns atrocities against women in Gokul Nagar village of Nandigram.

According to the FIR, the CPM activists forcibly entered the house of the woman on March 14. The activists allegedly raped the three victims over two days and laid siege to their house. The activists then demanded money from the victims for lifting the siege. The activists left only after the mother paid Rs 1,000. This case is also mentioned in the status report filed by the CBI before the Calcutta High Court. The other three cases have been registered against police officials and unknown persons for looting. One case relates to the failure of a policeman to register case even after a victim alleged rape by CPM goons on March 15.

The other two cases have been registered against unnamed persons who went on a looting spree on the day of police firing. These four cases were earlier registered by the West Bengal police but were later transferred to the CBI. The investigating agency has registered the cases again and will continue the investigations. All the four cases were registered by the CBI on December 15.

Till now the CBI has registered seven cases related to the Nandigram firing and ensuing violence. The accused in these cases include police officials, CPM activists and unknown persons. The CBI has told the Calcutta High Court in its status report that CPM workers dressed as policemen had fired at protesters, that witnesses were being threatened by CPM activists and that the authenticity of the medical reports handed over to the investigating agency was questionable.

The agency also alleged that a witness was beaten up for giving a statement to the agency sleuths. The agency has also questioned the police claim that only 57 rounds were fired and told the court that indications were that more rounds were fired. The CBI had submitted the status report on the investigations into the Nandigram police firing and violence in a sealed cover to the Calcutta High Court and had sought four months time for submitting the final report.

The court had granted the CBI two months time to submit the final report on the March 14 Nandigram police firing.

20 Dec, 2007, 0154 hrs IST,

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Dissidents in CPI(M) helping find more graves in Nandigram

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 13, 2007

NEW DELHI: After the recovery of several human bones and seven graves in Nandigram, the men in uniform are now being helped by CPI(M) dissidents to uncover more graves. Explosives, live bombs and weapons have also been seized in the past few days.

“We have so far uncovered seven graves, but there is a strong possibility there could be many more. What we have found could be the tip of the iceberg,” said a senior official involved in the operations in Nandigram.

The officer added that since the paramilitary force was new to the area and did not know the terrain, it was relying on CPI(M) dissidents to locate new graves and recover weapons.

“We have no option but to rely on the inputs given by them. This is not our job but we are doing it considering the extent of the problem,” said the officer, adding that they have prepared a list of people who have gone missing after the violence.

“The list was prepared on the basis of complaints made by people. We gave the list to local police since it is not our job to find missing people,” he added.

The paramilitary force has also recovered 44kg of IEDs.

dnaindia.com

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Body with bullet holes dug out- Wife of BUPC supporter says shirt belonged to her husband

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 13, 2007

Nandigram, Dec. 12: A body with two bullet holes was to- day dug out of the suspected grave that had been found in Parulbari village.

A woman, Shyamali Pramanick, saw the decomposed remains and said it was that of her husband’s.

Haren, aged around 37, was a Bhoomi Uchchhed Pra- tirodh Committee supporter. His family said he went missing on November 7 while returning home from the Nandigram block hospital, where his father was being treated for a heart ailment.

Shyamali Pramanick, who identified the body that was dug out as her husband’s, looks at the grave. (Jahangir Badsa)

Shyamali and her sister-in-law Sephali identified Haren by his blue striped shirt and a talisman around the waist.

“We had received a missing diary about Haren Pramanick. Now we will treat it as a murder case,” said East Midnapore superintendent of police S.S. Panda.

CBI superintendents Sujit Pandey and R.R. Sahay also visited the spot to probe whether the exhumed body had anything to do with the March 14 police firing.

Maheshpur, adjoining Parulbari, and its neighbouring villages had witnessed heavy gun battles between CPM and Pratirodh Committee supporters from October 28 to the first week of November.

Hundreds thronged Parulbari this morning as news that the body would be dug out spread. They were covering their nose to ward off the stench as the body was being pulled out.

After about half an hour of digging, the spades hit something hard and a human skull with tufts of hair could be seen. Further digging revealed a rotting and torn gunny bag, through which a pair of navy blue trousers stuck out. The dead man had his hands tied behind his back.

“One bullet had pierced the abdomen and the other the shoulders,” a police officer said.

As soon as the body was exhumed, committee conveners Sheikh Sufiyan and Abdus Samad claimed that it was Pramanick’s. They called Shyamali and Sephali to identify it.

“I could not recognise the face. But when the dirt was removed from the shirt, I recog-nised it. A close look and I could make out it was him,” Shyamali said, clutching her nine-year-old son Toton and crying .

“We also identified the ghunshi (talisman) my brother wore,” said Sephali.

“My father (Bhushan, 65) lost his will to live after hearing about his only son’s death. He passed away on November 30. We performed his shraadh today before coming here.”

Parulbari is about 2km from Kamalpur, where the Pramanicks live.

The CRPF today found a used 9mm bullet and a spent .315 cartridge from the area. Twenty-three used .315 cartridges were found yesterday.

CM statement

Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee will make a statement on the role of the CRPF in Nandigram in the Assembly tomorrow.

CPM leaders had been accusing the force of harassing villagers from the time it arrived in Nandigram.

The CPM state secretariat met this evening to finalise the contents of the statement. The chief minister and the home secretary had earlier lauded the role of the CRPF.

A group of party MPs led by Basudev Acharya will visit Nandigram tomorrow.

Top

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New grave found in Nandigram

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 12, 2007

Nandigram: After the discovery of graves at Bidyapit village at Khejuri and Talpati canal, another grave was found on

Policemen inspecting human remains recovered from a grave on December 5. It is suspected that the grave contained burnt bodies of five people killed during the recent violence in Nandigram

Monday near the former Bhumi Uchhed Pratirodh Committee stronghold of Maheshpur in Nandigram, police said.

“We found a new grave at Parulbari village near Maheshpur today. The police and CRPF have cordoned off the area,” superintendent of police, Midnapore (east), Satyeswar Panda said.

“This is a freshly dug grave. We cannot dig it unless we get court orders,” Panda said.

On December 5, CRPF had found five graves from Bidyapith village in the CPI(M) stronghold of Khejuri from where charred human bones and skulls were dug out the next day. The remains were sent to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory for examination.

The CBI had recovered more bones from another grave at Talpati canal at Bhangabera in Nandigram around the same time.

Mumbai Mirror

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Open-letter-to-The-Hindu: Credibility at stake

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 10, 2007

OPEN-LETTER-TO-The-Hindu
Credibility at stake

We are writing this open letter to the editorial board of “The Hindu” to express our dismay at your coverage of recent events at Nandigram.

Most of us are regular readers of your paper. We have appreciated your balanced coverage of topics such as the Narmada Dam, Gujarat or the Agrarian Crisis. At least in our eyes, your principled reportage of these issues (and numerous others) has lent your newspaper an unusual
degree of credibility. We believe that your paper’s articles carry enormous weight in moulding public opinion and policy.

It is therefore a cause of collective concern when this credibility gets damaged. We are particularly disturbed by the editorial titled “The Challenge of Nandigram” (12th Nov. 2007) which displayed a marked slant. Even granting merit to the editorial’s contention that the
state government had to take steps to restore governance in the area, it seems beyond dispute that the methods adopted to do so were inherently incompatible with the rule of law in a democracy.

We cannot comprehend how a full length editorial could completely fail to take note of the unchecked violence by the CPM cadres, the curbs that were placed on independent reporting, the attacks on reputed activists like Medha Patkar, all of which seem to have been facilitated – or at least condoned – by the state. None of these well documented events have any place in a society governed by law, and should have occasioned strong comment.

We failed to see any critical editorial acknowledgement of these events, even after the chief minister had practically admitted having operated outside the law through remarks such as being “paid back in their own coin”.

This stands in marked contrast to the way the governor has been singled out for supposedly impolitic remarks. This selective silence opens the Hindu to the charge of being partisan in
its outlook.

We also notice that, unlike many other issues of similar gravity, there has been a marked absence of centrepage articles on this topic.

One would have expected The Hindu to flesh out the differing points of view on this issue as well as the dimensions of the human tragedy.

By choosing not to do so, The Hindu abdicates its responsibility to its readers for fair and balanced reporting.

We would hate to see The Hindu be identified as a newspaper purveying party propaganda. It is important that the integrity of the newspaper be above all question. An erosion of The Hindu’s credibility would be an immeasurable loss for journalism and for society.

Your Sincerely,

Academics from Harish-Chandra Research Institute Allahabad, Indian
Institute of Technology Bombay/Kanpur/Madras, Institute of
Mathematical Sciences Chennai, Jawaharlal Nehru University Delhi, Tata
Institute of Fundamental Research Mumbai.

(A complete list of signatories is given below.)

CC:
1. N. Ram, Editor-in-chief
2. N. Ravi, Editor
3. K. Narayanan, Readers’ Editor
4. N Murali, Managing Director
5. Board of Directors

List of Signatories:
1. Prof. M Suresh Babu, IITM
2. Prof. Rahul Basu, IMSc
3. Prof. Enakshi Bhattacharya, IITM
4. Prof. Milind Brahme, IITM
5. Prof. Dhiman Chatterjee, IITM
6. Prof. Supratik Chakraborty, IITB
7. Prof. Om Damani, IITB
8. Prof. Rukmini Dey, HRI
9. Prof. Avinash Dhar, TIFR
10. Prof. Raj Gandhi, HRI
11. Prof. Debashis Ghoshal, JNU
12. Prof. Rajesh Gopakumar, HRI
13. Prof. Purushottam Kulkarni, IITB
14. Prof. P B Sunil Kumar, IITM
15. Prof. Arul Lakshminarayan, IITM
16. Prof. Shiraz Minwalla, TIFR
17. Prof. Sunil Mukhi, TIFR
18. Prof. Ram Puniyani, retired, IITB
19. Prof. Sudhir Chella Rajan, IITM
20. Prof. Mahendra Verma, IITK
21. Prof. Spenta Wadia, TIFR

Contacts:
1. Prof. Om Damani, ompdamani@…, 9323003401
2. Prof. Rajesh Gopakumar, gopakumr@… , 532-2567732
3. Prof. Shiraz Minwalla, shiraz.minwalla @…

—————————
CNS

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Outsiders in khaki in Nandigram firing confirmed

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 9, 2007

NANDIGRAM: CBI investigators probing the Nandigram firing on March 14 have identified at least 27 outsiders in khaki who moved with the police force to break the barricade that the Trinamul Congress-led Bhumi Uchchhed Pratirodh Committee supporters had put up in the villages.

Investigators got the lead from the video footage of the carnage recorded by none other than the police and cross-checked it with on-the-spot interrogation of more than 50 villagers and two police officers present on the day of the firing.

CBI officers then summoned villagers, owing allegiance to both the parties — CPM and BUPC, and questioned them with video footage on display. The process helped them to spot the men in khaki — a little different from police uniform difficult to differentiate from a distance. These men, according to CBI, were heavily armed and moving with the police. The footage showed that these men, unlike the police, had no shoes.

It was evident from the footage that while the police posted on Bhangabera Bridge was busy asking villagers to make way for the police, these “cops” sneaked into the crowd with batons and started chasing them. According to the CBI, this was enough provocation for the crowd to turn violent. Angry villagers then started pelting stones at the police.

In the melee, these men chased some of the BUPC supporters with fire arms. Locals reportedly identified them as CPM workers. CBI officers have recorded their version and verified their presence in the procession from the footage. Their statements corroborated the video recording of the incident by and large. Investigators have reasons to believe that these outsiders on khaki sparked the violence.

Four CBI teams on Saturday visited Sonachura, Adhikaripara and Gokulnagar villages in Nandigram. A team met Sushil Das Adhikari whose brother Salil Das Adhikari sustained bullet injuries on March 14. Sushil was also with the procession. Both brothers were present at the Gokulnagar’s Malpara where BUPC supporters had assembled.

The CBI team is now looking for men in khaki. It has interrogated a few local CPM activists who reportedly refused to identify them. They claimed that some CPM supporters of Sonachura and Bhangabera villages were present with the police as they were forced to join and guide them. But they denied the charge that these men were carrying firearms and chased away BUPC supporters.

CBI officers on Saturday recovered more charred bones and fire arms — a .303 rifle and an improvised gun from the Talpati Canal. They said the charred bones along with those found at the five graves at Khejuri might have a connection with the March 14 carnage.

That explains why the team has also collected a detail list of the missing persons since March 14. While the CBI did its bit, a CID team under IG (I) D P Tarenia visited the dreaded spot at Bamanchak village on Saturday from where the charred remains were recovered only the other day. Family members of Bacchan Garudas, Srimanta Das and Sunil Bar killed in a blast on October 27 at Sherkhanchawk, claimed that the bones were those of their relatives and asked the police to hand them over.

Within a day after the state government ordered the CID inquiry into the mystery graves, the police rounded up 15 people including a CPM local committee member on charges of rioting and attempt to murder.

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Nandigram issue raked in Punjab

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 8, 2007

Chandigarh: Several representatives owing allegiance to various apolitical organisations are touring Punjab to highlight the plight and repression of West Bengal Government against the residents of Nandigram.

Addressing a joint press conference here today, the representatives said that they would be holding meetings at various places of Punjab, including Patiala, Sangrur, Mansa and Moga till December 11 to “expose” the alleged pro-liberal, pro-imperialist and anti-people nature of the CPI(M) government in West Bengal.

Terming the West Bengal Government’s propaganda against them as “incorrect”, they sought support from all sections of people of Punjab, including radical organisations like Dal Khalsa. They said that the alliance of Trinamool with the Maoists is “obnoxious” as Bhumi Uchhed Pratirodh Committee (BUPC) comprised of several political forces including parts of the CPI(M).

“The government has named people as Maoists who are actually either Trinamool leaders or ordinary villagers or students who came to help people in Nandigram,” they said. The representatives included Deboleena (Matangini Mahila Samiti,West Bengal), Gauranga Mondal (Bhumi Uchhed Pratorodh Committee, Nandigram), Jharna Giri (Matangini Mahila Samiti, Nandigram), Krishna Mondal (Matangini Mahila Samiti), Raja Sarkhel (Peoples Democratic Front of India) and Darshan Pal (Peoples Democratic Front of India).


Source : PTI

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Nandigram is a failure: Buddha

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 5, 2007

cm regrets ‘paid back in same coin’ remark

Statesman News Service

NEW DELHI, Dec. 4: Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today admitted that Nandigram was an “administrative and political failure” and regretted his remarks that those opposing land acquisition there had been “paid back in the same coin”. “We have to ensure that Nandigram does not repeat itself. We have learnt lessons from Nandigram that we have to take people into confidence… We have failed in Nandigram. It was an administrative and political failure,” he told a Press conference here. Asked about his remarks after the recapture of Nandigram that those opposed to the CPI-M and land acquisition had been “paid back in the same coin”, he said: “I should not have said that. Now I want peace for all.”. To a question whether the process of industrialisation in the state had suffered due to the Nandigram situation, Mr Bhattacharjee said: “Nandigram or no Nandigram, the process of industrialisation in West Bengal cannot be stopped.”

He said no corporate house, business group or foreign company had said they would withdraw from the state. “In fact, major foreign companies from Japan, the USA, Singapore and Dubai have sent proposals” to invest in the state. On the chemical hub which was supposed to have come up at Nandigram, Mr Bhattacharjee said it was now being set up at Nayachar, which did not have any habitation nor was the land arable.

The chief minister said the situation in the troubled Nandigram blocks was “fast returning to normal” and most of those who had been evicted had already returned. A total of Rs one crore had so far been spent by the Left Front government for their rehabilitation, including reconstruction and repair of damaged houses, roads, bridges as also supply of clothings, utensils and fertiliser mini-kits for the farmers to sow the rabi crop, he said. (The home secretary said in Kolkata the state government was ready to implement a High Court order to pay Rs 5 lakhs as compensation to the relatives of those killed in police firing, though the government would move the Supreme Court against the order. The home secretary said a state police officer had been showcaused following CRPF complaints that the state police were releasing those who were being arrested by the CRPF). The chief minister said a senior official had been sent to the area to prepare a report on what kind of development projects could be implemented in the Nandigram area. “As soon as we get this report, I will announce the projects.” Asked when he would visit Nandigram, the chief minister said he would not do so now as his first task was to restore normalcy and the farmers were also busy cultivating the rabi crop. “Let the situation get back to normal.”

On Governor
To questions on his relations with Governor Mr Gopal Krishna Gandhi who spoke out against the CPI-M led government on the issue, he said the Governor was a “very nice man” and he has had very cordial relations with him. “There has been no problem (with him) at all. We not only discuss administrative and political issues but literature also. We also exchange books… he is a nice man,” he said, and denied reports of any no move to seek a change of Governor.

On Maoists
On Maoist presence in Nandigram, he said the bunkers and trenches dug up in the area, the mine and other arms found clearly indicated their presence in the affected area. He maintained that the Maoists had come from outside the state, including from Jharkhand. “The CRPF is doing a good job in unearthing the arms and ammunition piled up by them.”

On Intellectuals
Regarding the 14 May police firing on protesters in the area and the alienation of intellectuals from the Left, he said “no one can accept (police firing) … intellectuals are very sensitive. My duty is to explain to all of them the actual situation. Many of them have now been convinced.”
On differences among the Left Front partners over the Nandigram episode, he admitted difference of opinion on some issues but asserted that the Front was “different” from the UPA or any other coalition cobbled before elections. “The Left Front has had a long history of struggle”. Asked about comparisons between him and former Chinese leader Deng Xiao Ping, Mr Bhattacharjee said he was a “great visionary and I am a small fry. The people will judge what I am doing.”

On Hill Council
As Lok Sabha deferred consideration of two Bills relating to the Gorkha Hill Council today and the government expressing readiness to refer these to a Parliamentary Standing Committee, Mr Bhattacharjee said major Opposition parties in Parliament, including BJP, were not opposed to the measure. He met Leader of Opposition Mr LK Advani last night and spoke to his Orissa and Bihar counterparts to elicit their support for the legislation. Regarding his meeting with Mr Advani, he told reporters that the senior BJP leader told him though he had no problem with the contents of the Bills, his party opposed the manner in which the UPA government wanted to push them forward. The chief minister told Mr Advani that he was well aware of the Gorkha issue as he had held the home ministry for long and sought his and the BJP’s support for passage of the legislation. He also spoke on phone to Orissa chief minister Mr Navin Patnaik and his Bihar counterpart Mr Nitish Kumar on the matter. Mr Patnaik, who also heads the ruling BJD, apparently assured him of support while Mr Kumar said he would discuss the issue with his party president.

On Taslima
He said he discussed the Taslima Nasreen issue with external affairs minister Mr Pranab Mukherjee and it was up to the Centre to decide on the matter. Mr Bhattacharjee said he would not comment when asked whether the visa of the controversial Bangladeshi writer, who was shifted from Kolkata following violence in the city over her stay there, be extended.
“I have spoken to Pranabda. Now, it is up to the Centre to take a decision on the matter,” he said. Referring to the anti-Taslima violence, he said some forces were trying to divide Bengal communally.

On Projects
Mr Bhattacharjee said he briefed the Prime Minister about the largest private steel plant of the country, to be established by the Jindal group, in the Salboni area. He said the Prime Minister had accepted his invitation to lay the foundation stone of the project in January end. On other industrial projects, he said while two more steel plants were coming up at Purulia and Bardhaman, a biotech park was being established by IIT, Kharagpur, in collaboration with the University of Berkeley. He also briefed the Prime Minister on the progress of the establishment of a deep-sea port in the state. Shipping and Surface Transport Minister Mr TR Baalu would soon visit Kolkata to discuss the project.

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Conspicuous graves found in Nandigram

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 5, 2007

Five grave like structures have been discovered in Nandigram in West Bengal by officials of the Central Reserve Police Force who have been patrolling the sensitive area.

A villager claimed that the graveyards belong to men of their village, Gokulnagar. Reportedly the villagers died while making bombs on the 27th of October.

The mutilated and half-burnt bodies were found buried in a trench in a field at Bidyapith Village in the CPI(M) stronghold of Khejuri.

”We had a tip off that five bodies were buried at the spot. We along with a team of CRPF and CBI went there and found the bodies, but cannot dig them out without a magistrate’s order,” Midnapore (East) Superintendent of Police S S Panda said.

He said the bodies found in the trench in a field covered with bushes, were half-burnt and mutilated.

”We are waiting for the magistrate’s order and once it comes we will exhume the bodies and send them for post mortem,” Panda said.

The SP was not sure about the identity of the bodies.

”Five people died while making bombs on October 27. These might be the bodies of them or it might be the bodies of those persons killed in disturbances on November 6,” Panda said.

”We can say everything once the post mortem report comes in,” he added.

A large team of the police and CRPF have cordoned off the area. (With PTI inputs)

NDTV

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