Kolkata: The fourth phase of West Bengal panchayat polls began on Monday amidst more violence. The death toll has risen to five. A CRPF personnel allegedly opened fire and killed a voter in the Ratua area of Malda. This was a fall out of trouble over allegations of booth capturing in a polling station housed at the Sambalpur High School in that area.
Meanwhile, Naxals have put up posters in Birbhum warning people against voting.
Two people, reportedly belonging to the CPI(M), were found dead in the Mayureswar area of Birbhum. The police claimed that they might have died in a crude bomb explosion. Another CPI(M) worker was also killed in the Mayapur area of Nadia.
A woman also died in Beldanga area of Murshidabad when a crude bomb was hurled at her. The police said there were clashes in the Muhammad Bazar of Birbhum in which some people were injured.
Murshidabad Superintendent of Police Humayun Kabir said there were reports of bombings in Domkol, Beldanga and some other areas in the outskirts.
On the continuing violence, a CPI(M) leader Mohd Salim said the TMC leaders create a atmosphere wher people will be terrorized. "The TMC leaders are assigned to do just one work that is to creat threat and create a atmosphere where people will be terrorized. The TMC MLAs issues threat on camera and you will find no action by police," he said.
Clashes between CPI(M) and TMC activists have also been reported in Suri where 20 people have been injured. Some of them are believed to be critical. According to sources, the death toll is expected to rise.
The five-phased panchayat polls that began on July 11 has seen a lot of upheaval, bloodshed and violence throughout. Three Congress workers were also killed on Sunday in four districts of West Bengal and at least 100 houses vandalised and looted in South 24-Parganas district on Sunday. While the fourth phase is on Monday, the final phase will be on July 25.
Police said two Congress workers, Nurmohhamad Sheikh and Ahad Ali, were killed after being hit by crude bombs late on Sunday night hurled by rival party workers at Kapasdanga in Murshidabad district, one of the four districts that has gone to polls on Monday, the other three being Nadia, Birbhum and Malda.
Another Congress worker Repon Sheikh met a similar fate at Bharatpur in the same district during a clash between rival party supporters, police said. The district also witnessed sporadic incidents of clash, including hurling of bombs and stone pelting, leaving several injured including two policemen in the Kapasdanga area.
Three persons were killed in the second phase of the poll and four were killed in the third phase. A body was found at Diamond Harbour in South 24-Parganas district on Sunday, but it was not confirmed if the death was caused due to poll violence.
At least 100 houses belonging to RSP workers were vandalised and looted and 40 of them were set on fire allegedly by TMC workers at Basanti in South 24-Parganas district on Sunday, police said. Violence at Nirdeshkhali village in the same district also left a child injured. A large posse of policemen was deployed in the area.
Around 17 TMC workers and supporters and four policemen were injured in a clash with RSP at Jharkhali on Sunday. The injured were shifted to Kolkata, Basanti and Canning hospitals.
A Trinamool legislator on Sunday publicly threatened to decapitate a Congress leader. The threat was directed at Bapi Dutta, a Congress leader of Birbhum district. "Bapi Dutta, it would not take me even a minute to behead you," said Monirul Islam, Trinamool's member of assembly from Labhpur in Birbhum district, at an election rally.
(With Additional Information From PTI and IANS)