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Lok Sabha 2024: Final Phase Voting In West Bengal Marred By Violence, EVM Dumped In Pond

Clashes erupted in Satuliya, Bhangar, within the Jadavpur constituency near Kolkata, between Indian Secular Front (ISF) and CPI(M) supporters, resulting in injuries among ISF members, exacerbated by the presence of homemade bombs.
11:36 AM Jun 01, 2024 IST | simran rajpal
lok sabha 2024  final phase voting in west bengal marred by violence  evm dumped in pond

Voters are currently casting their ballots for the nine Lok Sabha constituencies in West Bengal in the seventh phase on Saturday, amid reports of violence and tension in various areas. Clashes occurred in the Satuliya area in Bhangar, within the Jadavpur constituency near Kolkata, between supporters of the Indian Secular Front (ISF) and CPI(M). The confrontation resulted in several injuries among ISF members, aggravated by the presence of country-made bombs.

In Kultali, South 24 Parganas district, an angry mob forcefully entered polling stations, seized an Electronic Voting Machine (EVM), and threw it into a nearby pond. This incident happened after certain polling agents were reportedly denied entry into the booths, leading local residents to retaliate by taking possession of the EVM, which was equipped with Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT), and disposing of it.

"The Chief Electoral Officer of West Bengal stated in a statement that this morning at 6:40 am, a local mob looted Reserve EVMs and papers of the Sector Officer near Benimadhavpur FP school in the 129-Kultali AC of the 19-Jaynagar (SC) PC. They threw 1 CU, 1 BU, and 2 VVPAT machines inside a pond... The Sector Officer has lodged an FIR and initiated necessary action. The poll process in all six booths under the Sector continues without interruption. The Sector Officer has been provided with fresh EVM and papers."

Tensions erupted in Sandeshkhali under Basirhat Lok Sabha late Friday night and continued into the early hours of polling. Local women, armed with bamboo sticks, protested against alleged threats from Trinamool Congress (TMC) activists and state police. They accused associates of the now-suspended Trinamool leader Sheikh Shahjahan, currently imprisoned, of intimidating their families. However, state police claimed that the unrest started after local BJP supporters assaulted civic volunteers.

Suvendu Adhikari, the Leader of Opposition in the West Bengal Assembly, and BJP IT cell chief Amit Malviya shared videos of the protests. They accused Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of using party goons and state police to intimidate voters.

Clashes between TMC and All India Secular Front (AISF) activists erupted early on Saturday in Bhangar, injuring a woman AISF activist. Trinamool supporters allegedly vandalized the vehicle of AISF candidate Nur Alam Khan.

Polling began at 7 am for the nine Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal, including Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat, Jaynagar, Mathurapur, Diamond Harbour, Jadavpur, Kolkata Dakshin, and Kolkata Uttar, under stringent security measures. Voting will continue until 6 pm.

This phase features prominent candidates like Trinamool Congress general secretary Abhishek Banerjee from Diamond Harbour, BJP's Rekha Patra from Basirhat, and CPI(M)'s Sujan Chakraborty from Dum Dum. The polling is under heavy security, with 1,020 companies of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) in the state, 978 of which are on polling duty. A total of 1,960 quick response teams (QRTs) are deployed statewide to address any tensions.

Also Read: Polling Underway In Phase 7 Of Lok Sabha Election 2024: PM Modi, Kangana Ranaut In Fray

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