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5 Killed, 30 Injured in Clashes Over West Bengal Panchayat Board Formation

Incidents of killings have been reported from several parts of the state after a division bench of the Supreme Court on August 24 allowed the West Bengal State Election Commission (WBSEC) to declare results of the 20,159 seats.

Sujit Nath | News18

Updated:August 29, 2018, 1:22 PM IST
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5 Killed, 30 Injured in Clashes Over West Bengal Panchayat Board Formation
(Photo for representation only)
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Kolkata: Almost 100 days after the results were declared, violence erupted again across North Dinajpur, Purulia and North 24-Parganas districts over panchayat board formation that killed five persons, including three from the Trinamool Congress.

While 80 per cent panchayats were formed in May after panchayat results were declared for the remaining 20 per cent, the process of board formation started after August 24, when the Supreme Court ruled out repoll for these seats where the Trinamool Congress had won unopposed.

Incidents of killings and violent clashes have been reported from several parts of the state after a division bench of the Supreme Court on August 24 allowed the West Bengal State Election Commission (WBSEC) to declare results of the 20,159 seats, which mostly went uncontested in favour of the ruling TMC.

In North Dinajpur’s Daspara gram panchayat, Qairul Haque succumbed to stab injuries.

The TMC won all the 23 seats at Daspara gram panchayat, but trouble started when the Congress and the CPI (M) workers allegedly prevented the local TMC leaders to form the panchayat board. As a result, houses were set on fire, cattle looted and scores of people were left injured. Even bombs were hurled.

A large contingent of police force was rushed to the spot. The police lobbed teargas shells to quell the mob.

Three policemen, including 13 others, were injured during the clash. Among the 13, nine sustained bullet and splinter injuries and are being treated in a district hospital.

Speaking to News18, MLA Hamidul Rahman said, “We lost our active member Qairul Haque. The CPI(M) and the Congress have joined hands to terrorise our winning candidates. They didn’t even spare the policemen. A police jeep was also torched by their goons. We want stern action to be taken against them.”

Another incident of violence was reported from Amdanga area in North 24-Parganas, where two TMC workers, Quddus Gani and Naseer Haldar, and one CPI(M) member, Muzaffar Ahmad, was killed on Tuesday night.

TMC leader Jyotipriya Mallick alleged that arms used during the clash were smuggled in from Bangladesh.

“The goons were backed by the CPI(M). They killed two of our party workers and prevented us from formation of the panchayat board. We will give befitting reply to this,” he added.

However, the CPI(M) has rubbished the allegations levelled against them.

Party leader Mrinal Chakraborty claimed that out of the 20 seats, the CPI(M) won 10, whereas the TMC won nine and one seat was secured by an Independent candidate.

“Last night, the TMC backed goons entered the village and snapped the main electricity supply. They rained bombs and fired indiscriminately. Three people died, while 15 others were seriously injured. Even the police force had to struggle to enter the trouble torn areas,” Chakraborty added.

He further claimed that villagers fled their homes due to the clashes.

In Jhargram, body of a TMC worker was found in a paddy field on Tuesday afternoon. The deceased has been identified as Chandan Sarangi of Dubra village in Jambani block. He had gone missing before his body was found in the field.
| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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