CID to probe Cooch Behar CISF firing that killed four
West Bengal CID, on Friday, took over the case of the killing of four people in firing by the CISF during polling in Cooch Behar on April 10, a senior government official said. A Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has been constituted to conduct the probe in the incident which happened during the fourth phase of polling at Sitalkuchi.
Investigators to visit the shooting site
The Cooch Behar firing incident had set off an acrimonious war of words between the ruling TMC and the challenger BJP and has also triggered public outrage. Investigators will visit booth number 126/5 in Jorpatki in the Sitalkuchi assembly constituency where CISF personnel had opened fire after they allegedly came under attack from a group of villagers.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee termed it a genocide
The TMC has claimed those gunned down when they were standing in queue to cast their votes were its supporters. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had called the incident a genocide. The SIT will talk to witnesses, record their statements and go through video footage of the incident that has emerged on social media. A forensic test will likely be conducted to establish its authenticity.
A 72-hour ban was imposed on entry of politicians
The SIT will talk to officers and personnel of the local police station who rushed to the scene soon after the incident. The Election Commission had canceled the voting at the polling station after the incident and imposed a ban on entry of politicians into Cooch Behar for 72 hours apprehending trouble. Banerjee had visited Sitalkuchi on Wednesday and met the victims' families.
Fifth election phase to take place on Saturday
The first four phases of the West Bengal elections were held on March 27 (held in 30 Assembly constituencies), April 1 (30), April 6 (31), and April 10 (44). The next four phases are to be held on April 17 (held in 45 Assembly constituencies), April 22 (43), April 26 (36), and April 29 (35). The votes will be counted on May 2.
Mamata wants EC to club remaining election phases
Meanwhile, Mamata on Thursday urged the Election Commission to hold the remaining four phases of the state Assembly elections in one day. The call was made in light of the ever-worsening COVID-19 situation. EC officials had said earlier in the day that there was no plan to club the final four election phases.