At least five persons were killed in Cooch Behar district of India's West Bengal in clashes during fourth phase of polling in state assembly elections today.
The incident occurred in Sitalkuchi area when voting was underway, reports our New Delhi correspondent quoting a senior police official as saying.
"As per preliminary reports, four persons were killed as Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel opened fire after coming under attack in a village. A scuffle took place and locals surrounded them, and attempted to snatch their rifles, following which the security forces opened fire. Further details are awaited," he said.
Election officials said a report on the incident has been sought from the district officials.
First-time voter 18-year-old Ananda Barman was gunned down outside a booth in Pathantuli area of Cooch Behar district when clashes broke out between activists of ruling Trinamool Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The incident sparked more violence in the area as bombs were hurled, prompting security forces to baton-charge, police said.
Both Trinamool Congress and BJP claimed Ananda Barman belonged to their party but his family members said he was an activist of the saffron party.
Trinamool Congress has moved the EC, complaining against the BJP of not allowing its agents to enter several booths at Coochbehar's Natabari, Sitalkuchi, Tufanganj, Mathabhanga and Dinhata. The BJP has denied the allegations.
Voting is underway with strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols in 44 constituencies across West Bengal's five districts, including nine seats in Howrah, 11 in South 24 Parganas, five in Alipurduar, nine in Cooch Behar and 10 in Hooghly, they said.
Over 1.15 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise to decide the fate of 373 candidates, including India's Junior Minister for Environment Babul Supriyo of BJP and West Bengal ministers Partha Chatterjee and Arup Biswas of Trinamool Congress.