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Eleven dead in Bengal poll violence
M Chhaya in Kolkata |
May 11, 2003 19:06 IST
At least 11 people were killed on Sunday in political clashes during a crucial panchayat election in West Bengal.
Official sources said four deaths each were reported from Murshidabad and South 24 Parganas districts, while two were reported from North 24 Parganas district. One person was killed in Nadia district.
Police fired 27 rounds at various places to disperse violent mobs, Inspector General (law and order) Chayan Mukherjee told reporters in Kolkata.
Police arrested 137 people in connection with the violence.
Despite the violence, an estimated 55 per cent of the voters turned out to exercise their franchise.
In most places, the clashes involved supporters of the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist and the opposition Congress and Trinamool Congress.
Voting had to be suspended in at least eight booths after attacks on polling officials and problems with the ballot papers.
Polling in these booths will take place on Monday.
Arabindo Goswami, the presiding officer at Kapasdanga in Murshidabad district, was attacked and injured by miscreants.
The presiding officer of a booth in Jangipur in the same district was also wounded in a mob attack.
The CPI-M has already won 6,283 of the total 58,357 seats without a contest and is expected to comfortably win a majority of the remaining seats. The number of candidates in the fray is 143,209.Trinamool leader Pankaj Banerjee claimed that the CPI-M had rigged the polls in most districts while CPI-M politburo member Anil Biswas accused the opposition of resorting to violence.