West Bengal: Bloodbath in Fourth Phase of Panchayat Elections
The fourth phase of panchayat elections in West Bengal was marred by widespread violence and bloodbath, resulting in death of at least 8 persons and injuries to many. Once again, hundreds of booths were captured in the four districts of Nadia, Birbhum, Maldaha and Murshidabad that went to polls on July 22. As compared to the earlier phases this time in Maldaha and Murshidabad, the Congress was equally violent as the Trinamool Congress leading to clashes between them.
In Mayapur in Nadia district, CPI(M) activist Khabiruddin Sheikh was killed in a bomb. In areas like Chakdaha, Haringhata and Ranaghat widespread booth capturing by the TMC took place. In Bogula, TMC miscreants arriving in a car captured the booth after throwing bombs. The miscreants were forced to flee after Central forces arrived. Police recovered bombs and TMC flags in the car. The attacks in the border areas of North 24 parganas districts and Nadia were organized by TMC MLA Subhranghshu Roy, son of TMC leader Mukul Roy.
In Murshidabad, violent attacks on voters started from early morning. Villagers in Beldanga, Domkal, Baharampur, Rezinagar, Raninagar, Kandi and Jalangi were terrorized. In Beldanga, one women voter, Nurjahan Bibi was killed consequent to an attack by TMC miscreants. In Jalangi, a CPI(M) acitivist was shot. In Beldanga and Domkkal, numerous booths were captured, mainly by Congress hoodlums. In Raninagar two Congress acitivists were killed apparently from bomb blasts while making bombs. In Jiaganj, TMC activists fired on the voters standing in queue to cast their votes, injuring 2 CPI(M) supporters. IN Hariharpara, many CPI(M) supporters were injured when Congress miscreants attacked booths.
In Maldaha district, Abdul Mannan, a voter was killed by firing from CRPF jawans after scuffle ensued between the polling officers and villagers. In Kaliachak in same district there was widespread violence. Both the TMC and the Congress virtually unleashed a reign of terror. In Kaliachak a bomb exploded inside a TMC candidate’s house injuring three children who were playing in the vicinity. In English Bazar a woman CPI(M) candidate was attacked and molested. In many areas, voters alleged that their voters’ card were forcibly taken away the night before.
In Birbhum district, booths were captured in Khairashol, Rampurhat, Mohammed Bazar, Dubrajpur, Ilambazar and Siuri. In Khairashol CPI(M) activists were chased away and agents were forced to leave booths. In Dubrajpur, TMC miscreants even attacked the police when they tried to prevent booth capturing. In Parui, one independent candidate and his father were shot at. In Mayureswar three bodies have been recovered.
Biman Basu, Left Front chairman condemned the violence and said there was no attempt on the part of state administration to control violence.
In another incident, the TMC tried to thwart a public meeting to be addressed by Biman Basu in Sitai of Coochbehar district on July 21. Already a terror-stricken area, Sitai residents were threatened not to go to the meeting. The market was forcibly closed, roadblocks were erected and finally the wires of the loud speakers were snapped. However braving all odds, people attended the meeting.
July 22, 2013