Kolkata: As many as 12 people have died and around 43 are hospitalised with critical injuries in different parts of the state due to the violence during the voting for the Panchayat poll in Bengal that started at 7 am today.
The dead and injured include workers/supporters of both the ruling Trinamool and the opposition political parties.
The state police, however, have put the number of deaths at six. The director general of Bengal police, Surajit Kar Purkayastha, has even taken credit at a Press conference in Kolkata a little ago saying that the violence has been far less than the previous Panchayat polls in Bengal.
“No violence took place in front of the police. Police have responded swiftly whenever and from wherever reports of trouble came in,” Purkayastha said. This is even as the Bengali TV news channels are repeatedly telecasting footage of miscreants foraying into polling booth wielding pistol with armed policemen playing a mute spectator.
“Going by the reports published in newspapers, some 25 people had died in the last Panchayat election (2013). As compared to this, this time the number of deaths is far less. There was no dearth in the deployment of police and the cops have done a commendable job to contain the sporadic violence in some parts,” the state police chief said.
Trinamool secretary general and state education minister Partha Chatterjee too has echoed the same. “The violence is negligible if seen in the context of the size and population of the state. There has been some sporadic violence but this is nothing as compared to the previous years,” Chatterjee said.
According to the State Election Commission, around 41.51 per cent votes were cast till 1 pm. The voting queue was sealed at 5 pm and the poll panel said that they will be able to share the final voter turnout only tomorrow.
Of the 12 deaths that took place during the voting today, three occurred in Nadia district, two in Murshidabad, one in North 24-Parganas, one in South 24-Parganas, two in East Midnapore, one in South Dinajpur, one in North Dinajpur, and one death has occurred in Cooch Behar district.
The additional director general of police (law and order), Anuj Sharma has, however, put the number of deaths at six. He also shared the names of these six victims at a Press conference at state secretariat Nabanna.
Going by Sharma, the victims are ~ Arif Ali Gazi at Kultali in South 24-Parganas (Trinamool), Sanjit Pramanik at Shantipur in Nadia (Trinamool), Apu Manna and Jogeswar Ghosh at Nandigram in East Midnapore (CPI-M), Bhola Dafadar at Nakashipara in Nadia (Trinamool), and Bishu Tudu at Kushmandi in South Dinajpur (Jharkhand Disham Party).