Kolkata, April 24th - At least three persons died today, according to unconfirmed reports, as the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal once again unleashed wide spread violence with the help of police forces, to stop candidates of all opposition parties from submitting their nominations.
Today was the last day of submitting nominations, as per the extended date, following the earlier spate of violence.
CPI(M) state secretariat member Rabin Deb has said the party would be moving the court again.
More than 200 opposition activists including aspiring poll contestants, were attacked and beaten up, allegedly in a joint operation by ruling party “hooligans” and police forces, to make West Bengal’s panchayats “opposition free”.
Women too were not spared. In Arambagh , two women activists - Suparna Singh and Rakhi Roy - were attacked , molested and stripped, allegedly by TMC hooligans for their CPI(M) affiliation and gumption to submit their nomination inspite of violence. In South 24 Parganas’ Bishnupur , for the Bhandaria Gram Panchayat election , CPI(M)’s contestant Sajeda Bibi was molested and beaten up mercilessly. Similarly, in Hooghly’s Furfura area, CPI(M) contestant Mukti Malik and her husband were beaten up.
In Mankar of Burdwan district, TMC hooligans allegedly set fire to the house of woman activist and panchayat candidate Bhabani Bagdi . In Nadia district, at Karimpur block’s Dhoradaha GP, CPI(M) contestant Saheli Khatun and her infant son were allegedly abducted and tortured for hours . In Kolkata, Prajna Saha, a woman reporter working with the TV channel Aakash Ath – was abducted , manhandled and tortured for hours , before she was rescued. However, the police personnel at the Bhawanipur police station, made her sign a bond saying she didn’t hold anyone specific responsible for the incident.
In Murshidabad, Congress MLA and former Minister Manoj Chakraborty was also allegedly beaten up for protesting TMC ‘s hooliganism along with other opposition workers. In Katwa of Burdwan too, opposition activists were brutally attacked.
Similar reports of violence have come in from all districts of the state. In each case, TMC hooligans intimidated opposition candidates and their supporters. Additionally, around 20 journalists - most of them photo journalists - all around the state, received injuries after being attacked by TMC hooligans. TV channels aired footages of how policemen prevented journalists from entering the administrative building of South 24 Parganas district on Saturday morning. However, they allowed several motorbikes to pass with pillion riders not wearing helmets or more than two people riding on a bike.
The run-up to rural polls in Bengal has been violent, with half a dozen deaths between April 2 and 9, the days of nomination according to the original schedule. The opposition had then claimed that TMC supporters in connivance with the police did not allow their candidates to file nominations. They levelled the same charge on Monday.