West Bengal Assembly Election 2021: Political leaders have been banned from entering Bengal’s Cooch Behar district for 3 days after the poll violence.

All IndiaReported by Arvind GunasekarMonideepa Banerjie,

West Bengal: Security personnel keep vigil at a polling station in Cooch Behar’s Sitalkuchi.New Delhi: 

No politician can enter West Bengal’s Cooch Behar district for the next three days, the Election Commission has said following Saturday’s violence in which four people died.

The “silence period” for the next phase of voting in the state, the fifth phase which is on April 17, too has been extended to 72 hours from 48 hours, thus cutting the campaign period.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had announced that she will, on Sunday, visit the area where the clashes broke out, while the Trinamool Congress had planned to organise black-badge protests across the state to mark the incident.

Apart from this, the special general observer, the special police observer as well as the Chief Electoral Officer of Bengal have been asked to keep the Election Commission informed of the ground developments in Cooch Behar for the next 72 hours.

“Election Commission has covered itself with mud by stopping Mamata from going to Cooch Behar. After all she is still the CM of Bengal and it is her duty to visit the place of this unfortunate occurrence. We know for certain now that EC is not fair,” tweeted Yashwant Singha, who joined the Trinamool Congress last month.

Clashes took place outside a polling station in Cooch Behar after a local mob attacked security forces over a misunderstanding, the Election Commission said earlier on Saturday, adding that the Central Industrial Security Force, or CISF, personnel had to open fire to “save their lives and government property like EVMs”.

The election panel said the misunderstanding began when the central security forces were trying to help a sick boy near the polling booth in Sitalkuchi early Saturday morning, when some locals thought the boy was beaten up by personnel, and assembled nearly 300-350 villagers.

“Due to the misunderstanding, the agitated mob attacked the CISF personnel detailed at the booth with deadly equipment and some of them even tried to snatch their arms and ammunitions,” it said.

The Election Commission ordered stopping the voting exercise at the polling station of the Sitalkuchi constituency where the incident happened when polling was on.

The incident trigged a war of words between Ms Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress and rival BJP.

Earlier in the day, at another booth, an 18-year-old first-time voter was killed allegedly after he was shot. The incident took place at booth number 295 at Pathantuli constituency.

While the Trinamool chief called it a  “planned attack” and accused the central forces of “murder”, demanding Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s resignation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi slammed her and her party.

CommentsMs Banerjee also said Bengal Police CID (Crime Investigation Department) would conduct a probe.