Birbhum: The fourth phase of West Bengal panchayat polls began on Monday amidst more violence. Four people have been killed in Birbhum. Three bodies have been recovered and all are believed to CPI activists. They had been missing since Sunday night.
The fourth person was killed in Mauryeswar. 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.
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)