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80.09% turnout in Bengal; five killed in violence

At least four people were killed in Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar district after CISF allegedly opened fire at them after coming under attack amid voting for the fourth phase of Assembly elections in West Bengal.

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Kolkata: Violence marred the fourth phase polling in Bengal with five people losing their lives even as 80.09 per cent turnout was recorded on Saturday.

At least four people were killed in Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar district after CISF allegedly opened fire at them after coming under attack amid voting for the fourth phase of Assembly elections in West Bengal.

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A first-time voter, identified as Ananda Burman, aged 18-20, was also killed when a group of miscreants armed with guns and bombs attacked him in voters’ line at Paglapir booth under Sitalkuchi in Cooh Behar district, even as the 4th phase polling for 44 assembly seats in five districts of West Bengal was underway.

Election Commission orders adjourning the assembly poll in PS 125 of Sitalkurchi AC, Cooch, Behar based on interim report from Special Observers. However, detailed reports are sought from them and CEO by 5 pm today.

The Election Commission today directed the Union Home Ministry to deploy 71 additional companies of Central Armed Police forces (CAPFs) in West Bengal for the conduct of the remaining four phases of polls, official sources said.

Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee said the Cooch Behar incident is pre-planned.

Ms Banerjee said, “We will order CID probe into firing by central forces on voters at Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar.”

Addressing a public meeting here, Ms Banerjee said Home minister Amit Shah is completely responsible for today’s incident and he himself is the conspirator.

“We have sought home minister Amit Shah’s resignation,” the chief minister said.

“I don’t blame central forces because they work under home minister’s order,” the TMC supremo alleged.

She questioned central forces’ version of firing on voters in self-defence in Cooch Behar.

The TMC supremo said, “After killing so many people they (Election Commission) are saying the firing was in self-defence. They should feel ashamed. This is a lie.”

Trinamool Congress claimed the four dead in Cooch Behar were party workers.

The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) that opened fire at Mathabhanga’s Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar in North Bengal on Saturday, said that it did so in self-defence after a mob attempted to snatch weapons.

The Election Commission (EC) has asked for a report from a special police observer over the firing incident.

Ariz Aftab, Chief Election Officer of West Bengal, said, “We have sought a detailed report from DM and SP on the firing incident outside polling booth no 126 in Sitalkuchi. Two persons have been detained in connection with the death of one person outside booth number 285 in the same constituency.”

Locals claimed central forces opened fire. CISF personnel allegedly opened fire after coming under attack from locals, who ‘attempted to snatch their rifles’.

Dola Sen of Trinamool claims deaths in Cooch Behar due to firing by central forces.

“Central Forces opened fire twice. In Block 1 of Mathabhanga (Cooch Behar) 1 was killed and 3 injured, in Sitalkuchi block, 3 were killed and 1 injured. Central Forces are doing injustice to people and they have crossed limits. When CM called them out, EC issued her notices,” alleged Dola Sen.

Combat force and local police used baton and lathis to disperse a warring mob of the TMC supporters and rival BJP after the shooting incident which hit the victim’s back while he was fleeing following a chase by the miscreants.BJP leader Locket Chatterjee’s car attacked by locals in Hooghly during the fourth phase poll.

Bomb squad defuses country-made bombs found by police last night in Nanur, Birbhum district.

Several allegations of obstruction and intimidation reported from Coochbehar and Howrah.

BJP’s Kasba candidate Indranil Khan was allegedly heckled and stopped from entering the booth. Khan also claimed houses of BJP supporters were ransacked and party men threatened.

Following Khan’s complaint, a Trinamool worker has been arrested.

Reports of bombs being hurled in the Golabari region of North Howrah constituency.

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