West Bengal Panchayat Elections Violence: CPI(M) Worker & His Wife Charred To Death, 7 Others Killed
Multiple incidents of violence, ballot box tampering and booth lootings are being reported from the ongoing Panchayat elections in West Bengal. The state election commission (SEC) has received complaints of violence from at least 4 districts – North 24 Parganas, Burdwan, Coochbehar and South 24 Parganas.
The polling in three-tier Panchayat system is being conducted in the state after a prolonged battle in the Supreme Court and high court involving SEC, TMC and opposition parties. The voting began at 7 am today and will go on till 5 PM. Results will be declared on May 17.
— ANI (@ANI) May 14, 2018
Mired in violence
Before the polling even started, a CPI(M) worker and his wife were charred to death in North 24 Parganas district. Debu Das and his wife were burnt to death when TMC workers allegedly set their house on fire on Sunday night.
Three CPI(M) workers, a BJP worker and a TMC worker were killed in today’s violence. In Murshidabad’s Patikabari panchayat, an independent candidate Syan Sheikh was shot dead. Angry locals lynched a miscreant who tried to intimidate and thrash voters
A crude bomb explosion in Amdanga’s Sadhanpur, North 24 Parganas district, injured 20.
Five local journalists got injured in Birpara following booth capturing allegedly by TMC workers.
West Bengal minister Rabindra Nath Ghosh was caught in camera slapping a BJP worker at Cooch Behar’s booth no. 8/12 in the presence of police.
#WATCH: On being identified, BJP supporter Sujit Kumar Das, was slapped by #WestBengal Minister Rabindra Nath Ghosh (in purple kurta) at Cooch Behar's booth no. 8/12 in presence of Police. #PanchayatElection pic.twitter.com/9S2gyAoNQt
— ANI (@ANI) May 14, 2018
Reaction of politicians
TMC MP Derren O’Brien tweeted that the violence in West Bengal in this election is closer to normal if compared with the violence during CPI(M) rule.
To all 'newborn' experts on Bengal #PanchayatElections in State have a history. 400 killed in poll violence in 1990s in CPIM rule. 2003: 40 dead.Every death is a tragedy. Now closer to normal than earlier times.Yes, few dozen incidents. Say,40 out of 58000 booths. What's %age ?
— Derek O'Brien (@derekobrienmp) May 14, 2018
BJP MP Babul Supriyo demanded that President rule should be imposed in West Bengal.
Sitaram Yechury alleged that Election Commission of Bengal is being ruled by TMC and never in India has such violence has taken place.
The Election Commission of West Bengal must act to restore faith in the process. Else it will be seen as complicit in TMC's project of destroying democracy. Allowing TMC to get away with throttling democracy has implications well beyond West Bengal. pic.twitter.com/F6vHJbiqun
— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) May 14, 2018