Another case of death related to clashes and violence over the forthcoming West Bengal panchayat polls was reported on Wednesday after a CPI(M) youth activist succumbed to bullet injuries.
The deceased was identified as Mansur Alam (23), who was admitted at a local hospital on June 15 after being severely injured in a gun-battle during the nomination phase in Chopra in North Dinajpur district. He died late Tuesday night.
With this the total number of deaths due to poll-related violence has risen to nine since the dates for the panchayat polls were announced on June 8. The maximum number of deaths has been reported from Bhangar in South 24 Parganas district, where three persons were reportedly killed in clashes during the nomination period.
Reacting to the fresh report of death, CPI(M) central committee member Sujan Chakraborty said that it was unfortunate that even after the reported deaths of so many persons, the state government or the state election commission are reluctant to ensure free and fair polls under the blanket security cover of central armed forces.
On Tuesday only a division bench of the Supreme Court had upheld the previous order by a division bench of the Calcutta High Court directing the deployment of central armed forces throughout the state for the rural civic body polls. However, after the apex court order, controversies erupted, as the state election commissioner gave requisition to the Union home ministry for 22 companies of central armed forces, which meant that one company will be deployed in each district where the rural civic body polls will be conducted.
The opposition parties have described this move by the state election commission as eyewash and an insult to the order of the court.
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