4 killed in West Bengal panchayat poll violence, 41% votes polled till 1 pm

 

KOLKATA: Four people were killed and several others injured in violence during the single phase panchayat elections in West Bengal, which recorded over 41 per cent polling till 1 pm, officials said.

The four were killed in separate incidents of violence in North 24 Parganas, Nadia, South 24 Parganas and Murshidabad districts.

“There are reports of three people being killed in North 24 Parganas, Nadia and South 24 Parganas districts,” a senior official of the State Election Commission (SEC) said.

Baharampore Sub-Divisional Officer Dibyanarayan Chatterjee said one person was shot dead near a booth at Sujapur village in Murshidabad district’s Beldanga police station area.

The victim was a worker of the BJP, a party leader from Murshidabad district, Subhas Mondal, claimed.

“We have also received a report that four people were injured and another person was killed at Tapan in South Dinajpur district. But the police are yet to confirm the death,” the SEC official said.

He said 41.5 per cent polling was recorded till 1 pm.

A CPI(M) supporter was killed and another was injured when bombs were hurled outside a polling station in the Amdanga area of North 24 Parganas district, the official said.

At Kultali in South 24 Parganas district, one person was killed when a bomb was hurled outside a polling station, the SEC official said.

In Nadia’s Shantipur area, one person was killed and two others were injured in clashes, he said.

In Coochbehar district, North Bengal Development Minister Rabindranath Ghosh allegedly slapped a person outside a polling booth.

The SEC said it has received a complaint in this regard and asked authorities to take action.

Televisions channels showed the minister purportedly slapping the person. However, Ghosh claimed he did not do it.

In the Dinhata area of Coochbehar district, at least 15 people, including voters, were injured after clashes broke out between two groups outside a polling station, police sources said. The voters later lodged a police complaint.

Fifteen people were injured in a clash between two groups outside a booth in the Nandigram area of East Midnapore district. One person was hit on the head with a chopper while another lost a finger, police said.

In Contai in the same district, Independent candidate and four others were injured when chilli powder was thrown at them at a booth, they said.

In North Dinajpur district, three crude bombs were found near a polling booth at Galaisura, around three km from district headquarter Raiganj, police said.

Of the three bombs, two were found on railway tracks, affecting movement of trains, RPF sources said, adding that the bomb squad has been informed.

In Birbhum, masked men carrying weapons and sticks were seen intimidating voters outside some of the booths.

Television footage from Basanti block of South 24 Parganas district showed masked gunmen roaming outside polling stations.

In the Bhangar area of the same district, police resorted to lathi-charge and lobbed tear gas shells to disperse a mob following clashes there, the SEC official said, adding that the police were asked to submit a report regarding the incident.

In Keshpur area of West Midnapore district, police resorted to lathi-charge and chased people who were allegedly trying to intimidate voters.

After a protracted legal battle in the Kolkata High Court and the Supreme Court involving the SEC, the TMC and the opposition parties, the three-tier panchayat polls is being held in the state.

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