4 more killed in West Bengal poll violence, death toll rises to 10 since Aug 25

While three men died in North 24 Parganas’ Amdanga block in clashes between two political parties, the fourth man, a TMC worker, died of injuries in a Siliguri hospital.

Updated: Aug 29, 2018 16:59:25

By HT Correspondent

Security personnel walk past the burnt ballot boxes lying on a road after a polling station was ransacked during panchayat polls at Rampur in South Dinajpur district of West Bengal, May 14, 2018. (PTI File )

At least four people were killed and 17 injured in two districts of West Bengal late on Tuesday in clashes that erupted over the formation of panchayat boards following the elections to the rural bodies in mid-May, taking the death toll to ten since August 25, officials said on Wednesday.

Three men died in North 24 Parganas’ Amdanga block, about 35km from Kolkata, in clashes which broke out allegedly between two parties. Nasib Halder, 25, and Kuddus Ghani, 33, were members of ruling Trinamool Congress and Mujaffar Ahmed, 31, was a Communist Party of India (Marxist) worker.

Trinamool Congress worker Khairul Haque, a resident of North Dinajpur district, was admitted to a hospital in Siliguri’s North Bengal Medical College on Tuesday with injuries and died later in the night.

“CPI(M)-backed goons launched the attacks in Amdanga. I was told they even have assault rifles in their possession. We will ask the police to conduct searches in every house to unearth these weapons,” alleged state food and supplies minister Jyotipriyo Mullick.

“Police could not enter the villages for more than two hours. At least 16 to 17 persons were injured. They were admitted to hospitals and nursing homes in Barasat (headquarters of the district) and Kolkata,” Mullick, who is also the party president of North 24 Parganas district, said.

“Power connection was severed to take advantage of the darkness and mount the attacks,” said the local MLA.

Mullick also alleged that CPI(M) workers are smuggling firearms into North 24 Parganas district from Bangladesh with the help of the BJP. The district shares a border with the country.

Police arrested more than half a dozen people, including CPI(M) district committee member Ahmed Khan, from the hospital premises in Barasat. Some locals claimed they left their homes after the clashes, which started at around 7pm, and spent the night in the fields.

Leaders of the CPI(M), however, alleged that the ruling party’s supporters attacked them to prevent them from forming the board in Taraberia gram panchayat.

The formation of panchayat boards in Taraberia, Bodai and Maricha under Amdanga were postponed by the administration. Schools in the area remained closed on Wednesday.

A large number of policemen were deployed in the area on Wednesday and several crude bombs were recovered from the area in the morning.

First Published: Aug 29, 2018 14:13:45


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