17 killed in violence during final round of Panchayat polls

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Kolkata, May 18 (UNI) As many as 17 people, including a woman, were killed and about 100 injured in a wave of violence that rocked the third and final round of polling for the Panchayat elections in seven West Bengal districts today.

Murshidabad district, a stronghold of the Congress, alone accounted for 14 deaths as rival party supporters fought tooth and nail with bombs and fire arms.

While a CPI(M) supporter was found murdered in the morning in Jalpaiguri, another person, who was injured in a bomb blast at Nanur in Birbhum district and a man stabbed last night at Kaliachak in Malda district, succumbed today, Home Secretary Ashok Mohan Chakraborty and Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Raj Kanojia said.

According to Mr Mangobindo Das, Chief Medical Officer of Murshidabad district, and the police, people largely died in Domkal sub-division as widespread violence took place at Behrampore, Rani Nagar, Jalangi, Lalgola, Ghoramara and Garaimara areas of the district.

Three of the victims were voters, who were caught in an exchange of bombs, hurled by the warring political activists, while standing in a queue in front of a polling booth at Domkal.

CPI (M) Minister Anisur Rahman, who is in-charge of Murshidabad district, charged the Congress with unleashing a wave of violence, resulting in the death of many CPI(M) supporters.

However, Pradesh Congress Vice-President Pradip Bhattacharjee levelled a counter allegation against the CPI(M) for masterminding ''terror tactics'' to win the polls.

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