Bengal panchayat polls: Death toll mounts to 10, new clashes in Murshidabad

The maker of a crude bomb apparently fell prey to his own handiwork, becoming the district's third casualty since poll dates were announced.

West Bengal State Election Commission (photo: IANS)
West Bengal State Election Commission (photo: IANS)
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IANS

Woe is the West Bengal state election commission (SEC), as it continues to struggle to impose peace and order, while violence continues to break out in the run-up to the July 8 panchayat elections in the state.

Today, June 24, another person died in Beldanga in Murshidabad district, which sees its third death since the announcement of the polling date on June 8.

Amid continuing violence in the run-up to the July 8 panchayat elections in West Bengal, one person died in a blast in Beldanga in Murshidabad district on Saturday, taking the death toll of 10 since the announcement of poll date on June 8. (The district also witnessed the first casualty in poll-related violence 16 days ago, on 9 June, just as the filing of nominations commenced.)

The victim, who died in a blast, has been identified as Alim Sheikh, a resident of Kapasdanga village in Beldanga constituency. Police say initial investigations indicate he died when a crude bomb he was manufacturing exploded.

The police recovered another 20 crude bombs from the spot.

Local members of the Indian National Congress (INC) have claimed that the deceased and his associates, all having affiliations with the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC), had assembled to manufacture crude bombs to be used in creating mayhem and ensuring intimidation ahead of the polls. The charge has been denied by the ruling party.

Meanwhile, inter-party clashes were reported from the Raninagar area of the same district as well.

However, crude 'homemade' bombs are apparently a favourite pastime for citizens of Bengal, doubtless with no connection to any political parties or polling schedules. Just recently on June 19, five children were severely injured in Jangipur when a crude bomb they were playing with exploded. The kids had thought it was a ball.

The matter was reported to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), which has sought a report from the state government in this matter.

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