5 injured in clashes as Panchayat polls progress

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Kolkata, May 14(UNI) 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 Howrha 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 Trinamul 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 Pargana 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 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 Pargana, South 24 Pargana, 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 are having armed policemen, senior police officers, including an ADG, an IG, a DIG and an SP, are specially in charge of the five districts, Mr.Kanojia said.

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

UNI KDG PL/src1245

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