Cooch Behar (West Bengal) [India], April 10 (ANI): Amidst the voting for the fourth phase of West Bengal assembly polls on Saturday, at least four Trinamool Congress (TMC) workers were killed in Cooch Behar allegedly by Central Forces.
The Election Commission ordered adjourning the election process in Polling Station 126 of Sitalkuchi Assembly Constituency where the incident took place.
The EC took the decision based on an interim report from Special Observers. Detailed reports have been sought from them and Chief Electoral Officer by 5 pm today.
Following the incident, Annappa, Director-General of Police (DIG), Jalpaiguri police visited the spot along with officials of the Election Commission.
"Polling has been stopped at polling station number 126 of Sitalkuchi Assembly Constituency, Cooch Behar. The situation is under control now and further investigation is underway," said the DIG.
The incident came to light after TMC in a press conference alleged that Central Forces opened fire twice at polling booths in Cooch Behar where people were casting their votes, killing four party workers.
Addressing a press conference, TMC leader Dola Sen said, "In block 1 of Mathabhanga (Cooch Behar) one TMC worker was killed and three were injured after Central Forces opened fire on them, in Sitalkuchi block, three TMC workers were killed and one was injured."
Later in the day, condemning the incident, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that there is a conspiracy under the instructions of the Union Home Minister.
Addressing a public meeting in Hingalganj, Banerjee said, "CRPF has shot dead four people in Sitalkuchi (Cooch Behar) today. There was another death in the morning. CRPF is not my enemy but there is a conspiracy going around under the instruction of the Home Minister. Today's incident validates that. CRPF has killed voters standing in the queue. Where do they get so much audacity? BJP knows that they have lost, so they are killing voters and workers," Banerjee said.
TMC in another press conference said it will hold protests in every block and ward of West Bengal over the firing in Cooch Behar.
"Our leader Mamata Banerjee will visit the houses of all those who were killed today. The firing took place because common people were resisting the effort by BJP hooligans to disrupt the voting. They are being encouraged by Central Armed Police Force and we feel this is a conspiracy headed by Home Minister, we are demanding his resignation," said TMC leader Saugata Roy while addressing media in Kolkata.
TMC is also scheduled to meet the Election Commission in Kolkata at 5 pm today.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed sadness over the death of TMC workers. However, he added that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her 'goons' are perturbed after seeing the people's support for BJP and are 'inciting' the security forces to disrupt the election process.
"What happened in Cooch Behar is very saddening. My sympathies are with the families of those who died, I condole their demise. Didi and her goons are perturbed, seeing the people's support for BJP. She has stooped to this level as she can see her chair slipping away," the Prime Minister said while addressing a public meeting in Siliguri.
"Didi, this violence, the ways of inciting people to attack security forces, the ways of disrupting the election process will not save you. This violence cannot protect you from your 10 years of misdeeds," he added.
PM Modi further requested the Election Commission to strongly deal with those responsible for what happened in Cooch Behar.
Voting is underway in 44 constituencies in five districts of West Bengal during the fourth phase of the state Assembly polls. Among the 44 constituencies, nine are in Howrah, 10 in Hooghly, 11 in South 24 Parganas, five in Alipurduar and nine in Cooch Behar.
According to EC's data, till 3.40 pm Cooch Behar recorded the highest polling among all five districts in West Bengal with 70.21 per cent voter turnout. (ANI)