|  |  | 

India Top Headlines

4 dead when CISF opens fire after mob attack in Bengal | India News


COOCH BEHAR / KOLKATA: Five people were killed, four of them when a CISF unit that had been attacked opened fire on a mob, in Cooch Behar’s Sitalkuchi on Saturday when Bengal’s fourth round of voting turned out to be the bloodiest and most disturbed of the elections. in eight phases so far.
A 14-year-old boy was one of several injured in seven CISF rounds of gunfire that left four villagers dead. The Electoral Commission canceled the vote at booth number 126 in the constituency, according to a report by special observer Vivek Dube.
The first victim of Saturday’s violence was 18-year-old Ananda Burman, who was shot by two bicycle robbers just as she was leaving a polling place after casting the first vote of her life.
Cooch Behar SP Debasish Dhar said Burman died before he could be taken to hospital. Trinamool and BJP blamed each other for the death, which occurred around 9 a.m. and seemed to set the tone for the rest of the day. Two people were arrested in connection with the attack while the EC requested a report on the incident.
The problems began 45 minutes later in Amtali Madhyamaik Shiksha Kendra, some 15 kilometers away, after 14-year-old Md Manik collapsed near a voting booth. Villagers said his mother had asked him to wait outside before entering to vote. Three women from the neighborhood were trying to revive Manik when CISF staff guarding the booth came out to verify what the commotion was about.
The CISF team offered to transfer the boy to a hospital, reports that reached the EC office in Kolkata suggested. But, according to another account based on what a section of the villagers said, Manik was injured in an assault by CISF personnel.
Around 350 people quickly gathered and attacked the CISF team and others, including unit chief Sunil Kumar, a 32-year-old house guard, two election officials and an Asha worker, the sources said.
The mob reportedly attempted to seize firearms from CISF personnel. A rapid response team heading to the site was apparently assaulted by area residents and their vehicle was looted.
According to officials, CISF personnel fired two rounds into the air at first, but that failed to disperse the crowd. They then fired seven rounds in “self defense”, resulting in death. “The primary investigation revealed that the force opened fire in self-defense after some of the mob tried to seize their firearms,” ​​said DIG (Jalpaiguri range) E Annapa.
SP Dhar corroborated what Annapa said. “They (the CISF men) were overpowered and shot in self-defense.”
Reports sent to the EC also cited “self-defense” as the reason for the dismissal. But a report published by the BSF inspector general (South Bengal) and the CAPF Nodal Officer for Bengal AK Singh contradicted that version. This report, shared with the media, said that the shots occurred twice, first when 50-60 people attacked a CISF patrol “touring the area together with representatives of the local police so that people resisting voters they will not make it to the polls ”.
“A child fell into the tumult and the criminals began to damage the unit’s vehicle and attacked the personnel. The team reacted in self-defense and fired six rounds into the air to disperse the mob, ”the report says.
The BSF report suggested that the police also shot at the mafia. SP Dhar denied having been fired by the police.
The second incident took place around 10:30 a.m. About 150 people returned to attack post number 126, assaulted election officials and CISF staff and attempted to seize their firearms, according to the report. Security forces initially fired two rounds into the air and seven more rounds thereafter at the advancing crowd. The dead were identified as Chhalmu Mia, Jobed Ali, Amzad Hossain and Nameed Mia.
In Kolkata, crude bombs were thrown at a housing complex and chili powder was sprinkled on election officials in a one-day cycle of interruptions, especially in the southern towns of Kasba and Jadavpur.
Residents of Rose Valley Apartments in Kustia in Tiljala said they were pulverized by two bombs dropped from the rear of the complex around 1.30 p.m., minutes before some residents gathered to cast their votes at a nearby primary health center. “The children would play here any other day. Today, being an election day, we had asked them to stay inside, ”said Sharad Agarwal, a resident of the complex.
At a booth near Jadavpur, two elderly women electoral agents required medical attention after a suspected false voter sprayed their eyes with chili powder. Both Dipti Lahiri (71), electoral agent of the CPM, and Sunanda Das (64), representative of an independent candidate, stood firm against the attack.
BJP alleged that its agent in the Shahid Smriti colony was attacked and excluded from the booth. The party’s candidate in Jadavpur, Rinku Naskar, brought similar charges of assault against two BJP workers in the Kendua area.
In Kasba, another town in southern Kolkata, BJP alleged that Trinamool workers attacked specific apartments and stole voter identification cards. Trinamool refuted the accusation.
The two-time Dinhata MLA Udayan Guha was allegedly attacked by BJP supporters as he was leaving a booth in the Bhataguri area. In Hooghly, the car of actor-MP and BJP candidate Locket Chatterjee was attacked by a group carrying black flags. She alleged that the attack was in retaliation for her attempt to stop tampering attempts in a cabin.
The car of BJP actor and candidate Behala, Payel Sarkar, was allegedly vandalized by Trinamool supporters when he was visiting stalls in the area. Vaishali Dalmiya, Bally’s BJP candidate, was also attacked and a car in her convoy was vandalized, allegedly by Trinamool workers, when visiting the posts in Liluah. Trinamool pointed the finger at the dissent in BJP over the violence.
( With input from Dwaipayan Ghosh, Tamaghna Banerjee, and Rohit Khanna)

Times of India