Violence erupts in Bengal, 4 shot dead; EC seeks report
Four people were reportedly shot dead on Saturday when security personnel opened fire after being attacked in Sitalkuchi in West Bengal's Cooch Behar district as the state went to polls in its fourth phase of the ongoing Assembly elections. The incident took place around 8 am as workers of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) clashed. Here are more details.
An 18-year-old first-time voter also died in clashes
The deceased also included an 18-year-old first-time voter - Ananda Barman. "The deceased has been identified as Ananda Barman, 18. He was a first-time voter. We have arrested two people in the matter," Debasish Dhar, the Superintendent of Police (SP), Cooch Behar district, said. The BJP claimed Barman was a party supporter while TMC alleged he was shot by supporters of the saffron party.
Election Commission seeks report on the matter
The incident reportedly happened near booth number 285. Meanwhile, scattered incidents of violence have also been reported in other parts of the district, according to reports. The Election Commission has now sought a report on the matter by 5 pm today and ordered adjourning the poll in Polling Station 125 of Sitalkuchi Assembly constituency based on an interim report from Special Observers.
TMC goons killed Barman, says BJP leader; TMC hits back
Malati Rava Roy, the BJP's Cooch Behar district committee president, said, "Barman belonged to the BJP family as his elder brother is the head of the local committee under Boleynauhati Gram Panchayat. It was the TMC goons who killed him." However, Rabindranath Ghosh, a senior TMC leader, said that it was "BJP activists who, in their desperate move to create fear psychosis, killed Barman."
Election Commission posted around 80,000 security personnel
The Election Commission has posted around 80,000 security personnel from the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) to guard nearly 16,000 polling stations in the fourth phase. The highest deployment of 187 companies of CAPF is in Cooch Behar.
Elections in Bengal to conclude on April 29
The ongoing Assembly elections in Bengal are being seen as a direct contest between Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's TMC - fighting to run its third term in the state - and the BJP, which has never ruled the state before. The voting began on March 27 and will conclude on April 29. The results will be declared on May 2.