5 dead in clashes during West Bengal voting
Published: 03:05 PM, 10 April 2021
In two separate incidents, five people were killed and three others injured in the Cooch Behar district of India's West Bengal during the fourth phase of polling in state assembly elections on Saturday.
Local media reported that the clashes took place between Trinamool Congress and Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) workers in the Sitalkuchi area when voting was underway.
A first-time voter was among them who was shot dead outside a polling booth in Cooch Behar. Two persons have been arrested so far, police said. The Election Commission of India (ECI) has sought report in this regard.
"The dead has been identified as Ananda Barman. He was 18 years and a first-time voter," Debasish Dhar, Superintendent of Police of Cooch Behar district told Hindustan Times.
"Four persons were killed in firing at Sitalkuchi. We are collecting information about the injured," said Vishal Garg, Inspector General, North Bengal.
Police said central force personnel were attacked and they fired in retaliation. The incident took place at around 8:00 am, within an hour after voting started in the fourth phase of West Bengal assembly elections.
While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) claimed that Barman was a party supporter, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) claimed that he was shot by the BJP.
The incident followed a clash between the BJP and the TMC workers and supporters near booth number 285. Sporadic incidents of violence have also started pouring in from other parts of the district.
West Bengal has witnessed several incidents of violence during the past phases of elections. Largescale violence had rocked the third phase of polling in West Bengal, with two from different parties killed and several injured. Sporadic clashes were reported from multiple constituencies in Howrah and South 24 Parganas, two of the three districts that went to polls.
West Bengal recorded a voter turnout of 15.85% till 9.45 am across 44 constituencies in five districts, according to the Election Commission of India (ECI).
The fourth phase of the elections will witness an intense battle between 373 candidates in 44 constituencies of the state across five districts - Cooch Behar, Alipurduar, South 24 Parganas, Howrah and Hooghly.
The fifth phase of West Bengal assembly elections will take place on April 17. The counting of votes will take place on May 2. - Hindustan Times