Eight killed in violence during final round of Panchayat poll

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Kolkata, May 18 (UNI) As many as eight people, including a woman, were killed and about 30 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, bore the brunt of the violence as rival party supporters fought tooth and nail with bombs and fire arms resulting in the death of eight people.

Barring a few minor incidents, polling in Malda, South Dinajpur, North Dinajpur, Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri and Birbhum was by and large peaceful.

According to state Election Commission sources, a high turnout was recorded in most of the areas, though the final figure was yet to come.

Official sources said six people, including a woman, were killed in clashes between armed supporters of the CPI(M) and the Congress in Domkal police station area of Murshidabad district while one each died at Jalangi and Rani Nagar 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) state committee Secretary Biman Bose claimed that those killed included five party supporters while Pradesh Congress Vice-President Pradip Bhattacharjee claimed that six were Congressmen.

An earlier report had said one person was killed at Nanur in Birbhum district. Home Secretary Ashok Mohan Chakraborty, however, clarified that it was a pre-poll incident that took place last night.

Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Raj Kanojia said one person, who was shot at Kaliachak in Malda district yesterday in a pre-poll violence, succumbed to his injuries today.

He said more than 100 people had been arrested in connection with poll violence.

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