West Bengal: EC stops polling at booth in Cooch Behar after 4 die in firing

Polling has been stopped at polling station number 126 of Sitalkuchi Assembly Constituency, Cooch Behar, further investigation is underway, said DIG, Jalpaiguri Range (Photo: ANI)
After the killing of four TMC workers in Cooch Behar by Central Forces on Saturday amidst the voting for the fourth phase of West Bengal assembly polls, the Election Commission ordered adjourning the poll in Polling Station 126 of Sitalkurchi Assembly Constituency.

EC took the decision based on an interim report from Special Observers. Detailed reports have been sought from them and Chief Electoral Officer by 5 pm on Saturday.

Addressing a public meeting in Hingalganj, West bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, "CRPF has shot dead four people in Sitalkurchi (Cooch Behar) today. There was another death in the morning. CRPF is not my enemy but there is a conspiracy going around under the instruction of the Home Minister. Today's incident validates that."

"CRPF has killed voters standing in the queue. Where do they get so much audacity? BJP knows that they have lost, so they are killing voters and workers," added Banerjee.

Banerjee will visit the home of the deceased TMC workers on Sunday, according to sources.

"As per preliminary reports, four persons were killed as CISF personnel opened fire after coming under attack in a village. A scuffle took place, and locals gheraoed them and attempted to snatch their rifles, following which the central forces opened fire. Further details are awaited," a senior district police officer said.

The TMC claimed that the four deceased persons were its supporters.

When asked whether any action has been taken against the CISF personnel, a senior police officer said, "It is for the EC to decide. As per our reports, they opened fire in self-defence."

"Polling has been stopped at polling station number 126 of Sitalkuchi Assembly Constituency, Cooch Behar, further investigation is underway," DIG, Jalpaiguri Range told ANI

Clashes broke out between TMC and BJP activists in Mathabhanga area of Sitalkuchi while voting was underway, a source said.

"Some of them gheraoed CISF personnel outside a polling booth and attempted to snatch their rifles, after which the incident took place," he said.

Election officials said a report on the incident has been sought from the district officials.

The four bodies were taken to a nearby hospital.

Earlier in the morning, a first-time voter was shot dead by unidentified persons outside a polling booth in the same Sitalkuchi assembly constituency area.

BJP's Cooch Behar MP Nisith Pramanik, who is also contesting the assembly elections from Dinhata constituency, alleged that TMC supporters attacked the booth.

"TMC goons attacked the booth with an intention to loot it. Maybe the central forces opened fire in self- defence," he said.

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel