On a request by the Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, who appeared for the CBI for an expeditious hearing of the matter by the high court, the bench in its order said, “Petitioner (CBI) would be at liberty to request HC for expeditious disposal which shall be considered by it on its merits”
As the re-polling commenced in 89 booths in the Nadia district of West Bengal two more killings heightened tensions in the already surcharged area with political rivalry. Dead bodies of the deceased, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and a Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) worker, were recovered on Monday.
The first incident involved the untimely demise of Astam Mandal, a prominent BJP worker and resident of Haranagar-Panditpur, located under the jurisdiction of Dhubulia police station. Astam’s lifeless body was discovered in a jute field near his residence. Reports indicate that he had gone missing on the day of the poll, July 8, causing concern among his family members and the local community.
According to locals, Astam’s family alleged that Trinamool Congress (TMC) workers, belonging to the ruling party, had abducted him on the day of the poll and subsequently killed him before disposing of his body in the jute field.
Expressing their frustration over lack of action in the case, Astam’s family members filed a complaint against several individuals with the Dhubulia police. However, they claimed that no significant steps have been taken thus far.
News of Astam’s death triggered instant tension in the locality, prompting local BJP workers to stage a road blockade. They demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) investigation into the incident and insisted on bringing sniffer dogs for a preliminary investigation. After the intervention of the police and local administration, who assured them of deploying sniffer dogs, the BJP workers lifted their agitation.
In another incident, Sukur Ali, father-in-law of a CPI-M candidate, Sabita Bibi, succumbed to the injuries he sustained during an alleged attack by TMC workers on the day of the poll. CPI-M leader Souvik Biswas accused Jinnat Sheikh, the TMC candidate, and his associates of assaulting Sukur Ali with bombs and weapons in front of the polling booth. The attackers reportedly beat him mercilessly, while also threatening his family members with dire consequences if he was taken to hospital. When Sukur Ali experienced severe chest pain this morning, his family rushed him to the Saktinagar district hospital in Krishnagar where the doctors declared him dead upon arrival.
Apart from these two incidents, no major untoward incident was reported from the district as re-polling continued. The Election Commission (EC) had ordered the re-polling in 89 booths in Nadia, which is being conducted under tight security arrangements. Each center is being guarded by four personnel from Central forces, in addition to the presence of state police.
However, there were some disruptions during the re-polling process. A road blockade occurred in Tehatta, Nadia, while voters demonstrated outside a booth in Mayna, East Midnapore district. Furthermore, repolling could not commence at a booth in Debagram, Nadia, as the ballot boxes failed to be delivered on time.