Tuesday, 14 August, 2018

Voting Underway Amid Violence; Extra Security Roped in from 4 States

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee addresses the media at CM's office in Howrah West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee addresses the media at CM's office in Howrah
Russell Knight | 14 May, 2018, 12:54

"The residence of Debu Das of Budhakhali Gram Panchayat in Namkhana was allegedly torched by the Trinamool Congress workers on Sunday midnight", a Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) member told IANS.

The victim has alleged that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers are behind the attack. The counting will take place on 17 May.

Seven persons were killed by mid-day and dozens sustained injuries in West Bengal on Monday on the day of State-wide rural polls.

There were reports of violence from several other disctricts like Jalpaiguri, Malda, Nadia and West Midnapore where at Bikalchak of Keshpur a teenaged girl was hit by an arrow.

The Supreme Court had on May 10 directed the State Election Commission to ensure "free and fair" panchayat elections in the state.

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.

Violence was reported in Burdwan districts too. Two days back, one person was shot dead and Arabul Islam was arrested, following Chief Minister Mamata Baneerjee's direction. The voters later lodged a police complaint.

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Trinamool Congress (TMC) workers on Monday were seen barring voters from entering booth no. 14/79 in West Bengal's Birpara town.

Security personnel from Assam, Odisha, Sikkim and Andhra Pradesh with police personnel of State and Kolkata Police will reinforce security arrangements for the polls.

While violence relating to polls been reported from nearly all districts of the State, the deaths have been reported from South 24 Paraganas, North 24 Paraganas, Nadia and Murshidabad.

In North 24 Parganas, the BJP accused the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) of letting loose a reign of terror in several parts of the district, especially in the Amdanga area.

Trinamool, rejecting these allegations, had said that the opposition has no valid point and was trying to evade the elections. The election mandate will decide the fate of 621 Zilla Parishad and 6,157 panchayats Samitis other than 31,827-gram panchayats.

Amid intense violence, the opposition parties accused the State Election Commission (SEC) of not providing enabling environment for their candidates to file nominations.

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