Violence claims two lives in phase two of W.Bengal panchayat polls

Asansol (West Bengal), July 15 (ANI): Two people, including the husband of a CPI(M) candidate, were killed during the second phase of panchayat polls West Bengal on Monday.

Sheikh Hasmat, the husband of CPI(M) candidate Manohara Bibi, who is contesting the Madhudanga Gram Panchayat seat in Burdwan, was killed after bombs were hurled at a polling booth in the area. Doctors declared Hasmat dead on arrival at the local hospital.

"I had gone to cast (my) vote, but they forced us not to give our vote. They started beating us with sticks. In front of me, they also threw a bomb", said an eyewitness, Mohammad Qazam.

Soon after this incident, villagers attacked one of the alleged attackers, Raj Kumar Khora, and allegedly lynched him to death. According to television reports, Khora was beaten to death in full view of five state policemen, who did nothing to stop the attack.

The violence in Burdwan district, triggered by clashes between the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the opposition Communist Part of India Marxist (CPI-M), is believed to have become widespread after reports of the death of a Trinamool worker from Memari in Burdwan, who had been missing since yesterday.

Additionally, the CPI-M candidate for the Panuria Gram Panchayat, is reported to have been injured in an attack in the same district.

As a result of these multiple incidents during the second phase of polling, security has been beefed up at the 1,700 polling booths of Burdwan, Hoogly and East Midnapore (all polling districts for this phase), which have been declared as "highly sensitive".

These incidents of violence, come only four days after five persons were injured as a result of clashes between party workers of the ruling Congress Party and TMC, during the first-phase of polling in West Bengal.

Meanwhile, Nandigram and Singur, known for violent incidents with regard to land acquisition in the past, are also polling today. Both areas, though, have been reported to be peaceful so far. (ANI)

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