Injured persons being taken to hospital after clashes during the fourth phase of West Bengal assembly elections, in Cooch Behar district (Image credit: The Week)

Five killed in election-related violence in Cooch Behar as West Bengal witnesses fall in voting turnout

Five persons were killed–four in police firing–in Cooch Behar district of West Bengal as the state witnessed fall in voters’ turnout in the fourth phase of polling on Saturday (April 10).

While the Central Industrial Police Force personnel claimed that they fired in self-defence, the Trinamool Congress alleged that it was simply murder and nothing else.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who is rushing to Cooch Behar, termed it murder and called for the immediate resignation of Union home minister Amit Shah, whom she once again blamed for the violence.

According to reports an 18 year old first time voter was dragged and killed while he was about to exercise his adult franchise.  This was followed by tension and subsequent violence between the supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Trinamool Congress. 

The official version is that the central forces were rushed to check the spread of violence, but it was allegedly attacked. This prompted the CISF personnel to fire in self-defence.

The TMC version is totally different. The party charged that those killed were its supporters and the CISF personnel opened fire to intimidate their voters.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was addressing an election rally in the state when the incident took place, while expressing regret, held chief minister Mamata Banerjee responsible for the killings.

Meanwhile, the 44 Assembly constituencies spread in five districts of the state, saw about 77 per cent voting till the last report came in. This is slightly shorter than 83-84 per cent turnout in earlier three phases.

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