5 injured in clashes in WB Panchayat polls

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Kolkata, May 14: At least five people were injured in clashes between supporters of the CPI(M) and Trinamool Congress at Howrah as polling for the second phase of Panchayat elections began in five West Bengal districts today.

Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Raj Kanojia said rival party supporters fought with crude bombs at Panchla in Howrah district while minor clashes were reported also from Canning and Baruipur in South 24 Parganas district.

He, however, said the polling was by and large peaceful in other areas, including Singur which had witnessed protests against land acquisition for the Tata Motors' small car project.

The Trinamool Congress alleged that CPI-M supporters had beaten up their agent at Gopalnagar in South 24 Parganas and jammed the booth at Deulti in Howrah.

In North 24 Parganas district Striking Forces were deputed at Subharantnapur under Gopalnagar police station, Saiberia under Rajarhat police station, Bhawanipore under Hasnabad block I, Kawgachhi under Barrackpore Block I and some other places to disperse the warring groups from polling station areas.

Police had to resort to lathi charge at some places to bring the situation under control.

The polling was being held in North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas, Nadia, Hooghly and Howrah districts under heavy security.

About 30,000 policemen, most of them being shifted from other districts, have been deployed for maintaining the law and order.

While 90 per cent of the booths were having armed policemen, senior police officers, including an ADG, an IG, a DIG and an SP, were specially incharge of the five districts, Mr Kanojia said.

Additional force had been deployed at Singur and few other sensitive areas, he added.


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