AT LEAST 14 people were reported to have been killed and many injured as the panchayat polls were marred by widespread violence across several districts of West Bengal, including North and South 24 Parganas, Nadia, Murshidabad, East Midnapore and South Dinajpur, on Monday.
While reports from the districts said 14 had died, the state police confirmed 12 deaths but said only six deaths were linked to poll violence. The State Election Commission (SEC) said over 72 per cent polling was recorded till 5 pm. The turnout is expected to increase as people were still standing in queues outside polling booths in the evening, said officials.
In other incidents of violence, 15 people were injured in a clash outside a polling booth in Nandigram. In Cooch Behar district, North Bengal Development Minister Rabindranath Ghosh was alleged to have slapped a person outside a polling booth. The SEC has received a complaint and has asked the authorities to take action.
In North Dinajpur, three crude bombs were found near a polling booth at Galaisura, police said. In Birbhum, masked men carrying weapons and sticks were seen threatening voters outside some of the booths. Television footage from Basanti block of South 24 Parganas also showed masked gunmen outside polling stations.
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