Three, including husband of CPM candidate, killed in Burdwan; large-scale rigging alleged
statesman news service
Kolkata, 15 July
The second phase of the panchayat poll today in the three districts of Burdwan, East Midnapore and
Hooghly, turned bloody leaving three persons, including the husband of a CPI-M candidate, killed in violence. The high percentage of polling was marred by allegations of large scale rigging, booth jamming and intimidation.
All the casualties were in Burdwan ~ which had once been the Red bastion that crumbled in the 2011 Assembly election. Sheikh Hasmat, husband of CPI-M
candidate Monowara Bibi, was killed in a bomb attack at Jamuria in Madhudanga gram Panchayat, according to police.
Another man, Rajkumar Kora, was lynched after a bomb was thrown in the same panchayat area, while the third person, Kata Mullick, was killed in a bomb attack before the Hijjona panchayat office in the
CPI-M candidate Siddhartha Banerjee for the Panuria gram panchayat was allegedly beaten up by Trinamul Congress activists. There were reports of sporadic violence in East Midnapore and Hooghly, even though polling in the two districts was said to be relatively peaceful. A bomb was hurled at booth no 29/1 in Nandigram after a clash between supporters of the ruling party and Congress activists. A Congress worker was injured in the clash. PCC president Pradip Bhattacharya said : “This is the bloodiest election I am witnessing. The ruling party and the state administration have let loose a reign of terror.” Mr Amol Haldar, CPI-M Burdwan district
secretary, said : “In all, 632 booths were captured by Trinamul activists across the district. We are preparing the list of the booths where we will demand repoll.” In booth No 28, a Zilla Parishad candidate of CPI-M, Mrs Suptava Karfa, was arrested in Rayan village on charges of provocation to the voters.
A CPI candidate for Panchayat Samiti in Andal, Mrs Parveen Banoo Ansari, and her husband, Mr Jawed Ansari, were not allowed to vote as their names were not in the electoral list. The DM, Burdwan, Mr Onkar S Meena, said: “The matter needs to be inquired.”
Security personnel fired one round at Dalurbandh in Pandaveswar where some men barged into booth no 14 and destroyed the ballot papers assaulting Congress candidate Mrs Barfee Ali Begum.
In Bamsore village in Bhatar, two Trinamul
Congress supporters ~Mr Rezaul Haq and Mr Sheikh Abdul Hakim ~ were hit with bullets during a clash.
State minister Moloy Ghatak, however, claimed the assailants were CPI-M supporters. The injured were shifted to the Burdwan Medical College & Hospital.
The SP, Burdwan, Mr S M H Meerza, said 17 perople were arrested at Bhatar, Jamalpur, Burdwan, and Mongalkote.
In East Midnapore the average polling was 75.17 percent till 5 p.m., while the actual count would be higher as people were waiting outside polling stations at many booths across the district after sundown.
PCC leader Dr Manas Bhuniya alleged at least 15 booths in Moyna were rigged by Trinamul activists who tried to drive out Congress agents and threatened candidates and voters. He alleged that Central forces were not used in most of the booths which were marked as sensitive.
The CPI-M failed to deploy at least 600 polling agents in booths in Nandigram-I and II, Khejuri-I and II and Mugberia blocks. “In these booths Trinamul-backed goons ran amok rigging at their free sweet will,” alleged a CPI-M district leader.
In Contai-III block, a state police constable was seen wearing CRPF dress and he was posted at a sensitive booth while there was no Central force.
A complaint was lodged by the CPI-M with the state election commission following which the constable was forced to wear his own police dress.
Mr Subhendu Adhikari, Trinamul MP, alleged the CRPF had smashed a party camp office at Salma booth in Pataspur.
Re-poll is likely in seven polling booths in Burdwan and three in Hooghly, where voting was disrupted today due to booth capturing and violence.