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Voting stopped in Cooch Behar after 4 killed in CISF firing

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Hemant Waje
April 10, 2021 17:57 IST
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Voting exercise was stopped at a polling booth in Bengal's Cooch Behar district, after four persons were killed in firing by Central Industrial Security Force personnel in its vicinity, a senior election official said.

IMAGE: Security personnel keep vigil at a polling station after Election Commission ordered of stopping the voting exercise at polling station number 126 in Sitalkuchi, where clashes erupted between locals and central forces in Cooch Behar district. Photograph: PTI Photo

The official also said that "re-polling will be held in booth no 126/5 in Sitalkuchi area" of the district, in view of the tragic incident.

"Going by the interim report of the special observer, the EC decided to stop the polling process at Jorpatki booth no 126/5 in Sitalkuchi area of Cooch Behar district. Further enquiry is on. There will be re-polling..." he said.

At least four persons died and as many sustained injuries when CISF personnel opened fire allegedly after coming under attack from locals, who "attempted to snatch their rifles", the police said.

Of the four injured, one sustained bullet injury and the other three were hurt in the melee.

 

A preliminary report submitted at the office of CEO Ariz Aftab stated that central security forces had to open fire near a booth in Sitalkuchi in "self defence" as they felt threatened by a mob of 350 people that gheraoed them.

According to the official, Deputy Election Commissioner in-charge of Bengal Sudeep Jain has asked for a detailed report and video grabs of the incident from Aftab.

"Jain sought to know if the security personnel were instigated by anyone," he said.

A senior police officer in Cooch Behar, when contacted, said a misunderstanding led to the incident.

Around 400 people had rushed to the polling station after a rumour that one person has been shot dead by central forces spread like wildfire, he said.

"A man fell unconscious at the booth and security personnel were attending to him. But a rumour soon spread that he has been shot dead. People, without understanding the situation, confronted the central forces and tried to snatch their arms. It was then they (central forces) fired in self-defence," the officer said.

Fourth phase of polling is underway in 44 assembly constituencies spread across five districts of West Bengal.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Hemant Waje© Copyright 2021 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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