Post poll violence breaks out in Nandigram

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Kolkata, May 12(UNI) Post poll violence broke out in Nandigram today as supporters of CPI(M) and Trinamool Congress clashed in several areas, a day after Panchayat elections were held.

While the rival parties traded charges, at least two people were injured, several shops looted and a number of houses destroyed during clashes at Hossainpur, Hajrakata, Balarampur and Garchakraberia while about 200 villagers allegedly fled for safety to relief camps.

Meanwhile, the State Election Commission ordered repolling in four booths of Nandigram tomorrow for election irregularities.

Inspector General of Police (Western Range) Rakesh Gupta arrived in Nandigram during the day following an instruction of the Home Secretary to inquire into the alleged excesses committed by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans during yesterday's polling.

The IG would also inquire into the incident in which Nandigram police station OC Debasish Chakraborty was allegedly assaulted by CRPF jawans and a woman constable of the Central force roughed up.

More than the rivalry between political parties, what turned the Nandigram situation volatile during yesterday's polling was the confrontation between the state police and CRPF personnel.

After several local people, including women, were injured in CRPF lathicharge, the Nandigram OC led a force to the spot and challenged the authority of the Central force, leading to scuffle between the two sides.

Earlier, CRPF DIG Aloke Raj got involved in a heated argument over the phone with CPI(M) MP Laxman Seth, on the issue of CRPF action and an allegation of molestation against him.

Mr Raj claimed that he had been falsely implicated and was being sought to be directed by Mr Seth, while the MP accused the IPS officer of exceeding his limit by moving from booth to booth instead of being in the camp.

Meanwhile, CPI(M) district Secretariat member Ashok Guria said no FIR had been lodged against Mr.Raj.

Observing that the CRPF had committed 'some excesses', CPI leader and state Water Investigation Minister Nandigopal Bhattacharjee said it would have been better if the force had not gone overboard.

Referring to the controversy surrounding Mr Seth and Mr Raj, the Minister, however, made it clear that no MPs or MLAs should direct any police officer during polling.


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