Baduria/Hingalganj: Four persons were killed as central forces allegedly opened fire after coming under attack from locals, who "attempted to snatch their rifles", in West Bengal's Cooch Behar district on Saturday, police said.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission has stopped polling at Sitalkuchi polling station after death of four in firing by centraL forces.
The incident took place in Sitalkuchi area when voting was underway, a senior district police officer said.
"As per preliminary reports, four persons were killed as CISF personnel opened fire after coming under attack in a village.
"A scuffle took place, and locals gheraoed them and attempted to snatch their rifles, following which the central forces opened fire. Further details are awaited," he said.
The ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) claimed that the four deceased persons were its supporters.
When asked whether any action has been taken against the CISF personnel, the officer said, "It is for the EC to decide. As per our reports, they opened fire in self-defence."
Official sources in the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) said the incident took place at Mathabhanga polling booth around 9.40 am.
"A group of people started pelting stones to thwart the voters from casting their ballots and they got into a scuffle with our troops and those from the local police deployed there," a source said.
The force personnel fired in the air after our quick reaction team (QRT) vehicle was damaged by the mob, sources said.
They added that the personnel later opened fire "in self-defence and to protect the booth and the polling staff" in which one person was killed while 3-4 others suffered bullet injuries.
Election officials said a report on the incident has been sought from the district officials.
The four bodies were taken to a nearby hospital.
Earlier in the morning, a first-time voter was shot dead by unidentified persons outside a polling booth in the same Sitalkuchi assembly constituency area.
Bharatiya Janata Party’s Cooch Behar MP Nisith Pramanik, who is also contesting the Assembly elections from Dinhata constituency, alleged that TMC supporters attacked the booth.
"TMC goons attacked the booth with an intention to loot it. Maybe the central forces opened fire in self-defence," he said.
Amit Shah Should Resign: Mamata Banerjee
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sought Union Home Minister Amit Shah's resignation over firing by central forces at Sitalkuchi.
Banerjee, speaking at a public meeting at Baduria in North 24 Parganas, said she would be leaving for Cooch Behar after attending rallies, and would visit spot where central forces opened fire during polling.
Appealing to people to remain calm, Banerjee alleged that central policemen shot dead people standing in a queue to vote and demanded "Shah should resign" owing responsibility for the incident "which is dastardly, cold-blooded and unprecedented".
She said TMC would bring out protest rallies throughout the state on Sunday and asked party activists to wear black badges and peacefully protest the killings from 2 pm to 4 pm.
Earlier speaking at Hingalganj, the Chief Minister claimed "the central forces opened fire on people standing in a queue to vote, killing 4 in Sitalkuchi."
She said she had long apprehended that the forces' would act in such a manner. "As BJP knows it has lost the people's mandate, they are conspiring to kill people," Banerjee added.
She alleged this was part of a conspiracy hatched by the Union home minister.
"However, I would ask everyone to remain calm and cast their vote peacefully. Avenge the deaths by defeating them," she said.
Banerjee said the EC too owed the people an explanation on Saturday's incident.
"We are not in charge of the administration. The EC is in charge of administration," she pointed out.
"They have removed the senior IPS Surajit Kar Purakaystha. They have removed my OSD Ashok Chakraborty, who is a lower ranked retired officer from RPF. Yet the EC bringing in retired officers to oversee polls here," she said.