North 24 Parganas (West Bengal) [India], April 17 (ANI): During the fifth phase of the West Bengal Assembly elections on Saturday, central forces allegedly opened fire in polling station number 215 in the Deganga constituency in North 24 Parganas.
Speaking to ANI, Mohammed Jabirullah Mondal on said: "We were voting peacefully when they (central forces) suddenly appeared and chased our men in the fields... Around 7-8 forces arrived and chased four of our men who were lying here and opened fire. We do not know why they started shooting."
He further informed that the forces fired a single round and no one was injured.
Furthermore, another person named Abir Hussain told ANI that there were five to six people resting in the shade at the polling station when the central forces arrived and opened fire.
Meanwhile, locals alleged that central forces vandalised polling booth number 81 in Kumarpur in the Deganga constituency.
A Trinamool Congress (TMC) workers named Sahabuddin said: "They came back here and vandalised the station, beat up voters and hurled abuses. Five were injured. They tore up Mamata Banerjee's posters. Our only fault is that we are Didi's workers, and they are central forces, who are working for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)."
Meanwhile, the Barasat Superintendent of Police (SP) wrote a letter to the Special Police Observer in West Bengal, saying that the allegation of blank firing in the Deganga constituency "is found to be not based on facts".
"The matter was immediately enquired into, IC Deganga PS and SDPO Deganga visited the booth, talked with the ASSI of CRPF contingent Sashi Ranjan Kumar and Presiding Officer of that particular booth. None of them witnessed anything of this sort in and around that particular booth," he said.
He further said: "From the very morning there was no report of any gathering, intimidation or any other practice which may warrant any action on the part of security forces stationed at the booth. Suddenly the allegations came into being. I had a talk with Suvam Gupta, Coy commander who had also stated that he spent almost two hours in that particular booth in the morning but nothing unusual was witnessed by him."
Polling for the fifth phase concluded with a voter turnout of 78.36 per cent in a total of 45 constituencies covering the districts of Jalpaiguri, Kalimpong, Darjeeling and a segment of Nadia, North 24 Parganas and Purba Bardhaman in the fifth phase. A total of 319 candidates, including 39 women are in the fray in Phase-V.
There were 15,789 polling stations designated for this phase. The security for this phase had been beefed up with the deployment of 1,071 companies of central forces for ensuring a peaceful election.
The voting for the sixth phase will be held on April 22, wherein 306 candidates will contest for 43 constituencies across four districts. (ANI)