West Bengal Assembly Elections West Bengal

High turnout, isolated violence, police firing in sixth phase of polling

Intense battle: A security officer standing guard as people queue up to cast their votes at a polling station at Khardhah, North 24 Parganas, on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Isolated incidents of violence, including police firing, were reported in the sixth phase of polling in West Bengal for 43 Assembly seats across four districts of the State on Thursday. 

West Bengal recorded high polling, with about 79.09% voters exercising their franchise by 5 p.m in the sixth phase. Nadia district recorded 82.67% polling, followed by Purba Bardhaman, which registered 82.15% polling. The polling figures are expected to rise. 

Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of West Bengal, Aariz Aftab, said that the police had fired three rounds after the Office-in-Charge (OC) of the Bagda Police Station, and a constable, suffered sharp cut injuries in an attack by a group of 200-250 locals. The police personnel have been admitted to a hospital. The OC and police forces were rushed to the area in North 24 Parganas district after the Sector Officer was attacked by locals, the CEO said. Mr. Aftab said that at least one person sustained bullet injuries. Locals said they had been fired upon without any provocation. 

In another incident, miscreants lobbed crude bombs near a polling booth in Khardah in the same district. Three person sustained injuries, and two persons were arrested in connection with the incident. According to the CEO, polling was largely peaceful on Thursday, excepting these two incidents of violence. 

Elections were held at 14,480 polling booths in 43 Assembly constituencies, which included 17 in North 24 Parganas, nine each in Nadia and Uttar Dinajpur districts, and eight in Purba Bardhaman district. 

Violence was reported from the Barrackpore industrial region that went to polls in North 24 Parganas. Crude bombs were lobbed in Jagatdal minutes after polling was over in the evening. Earlier in the day, there was violence in Amdanga in the same district. The situation was volatile in Kanchrapara in the same district, where Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Trinamool Congress (TMC) supporters clashed with each other. BJP supporters attacked makeshift offices of the TMC. A Trinamool Congress supporter was beaten up in Kanchrapara. Two TMC candidates — Raj Chakraborty from Barrackpore and Kaushani Mukherjee, the candidate from Krishnanagar Uttar — were surrounded by BJP supporters who raised “go back” slogans. 

The situation in Ketugram in Purba Bardhaman district turned volatile when the vehicle of the BJP candidate was attacked. There was also some unrest in Kaliaganj in Uttar Dinajpur district after woman supporters surrounded a police vehicle when the police tried to arrest a miscreant. 

Earlier in the day, an unidentified body was found at the Habra Assembly segment, which went to polls on Thursday. A TMC councillor was attacked at the Bijpur Assembly segment during the day. 

With polling in the sixth phase concluded on Thursday, two more phases of polling are left in the State. The seventh phase of polling in 36 Assembly constituencies is scheduled for April 26. 

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Printable version | May 18, 2021 2:18:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/west-bengal-assembly/isolated-violence-police-firing-amidst-high-turnout-in-sixth-phase/article34386765.ece

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