EC special team visits five districts in poll-bound W Bengal

Posted By: Pti
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Kolkata, Jan 18 (PTI) Members of Election Commissionteam that would make an independent assessment of the law andorder situation in poll-bound West Bengal, today visited some''recent troublespots'' in five districts in the state.

Sudhir Kumar Rakesh, the team leader and ChiefElectoral Officer of Bihar and Zaki Ahmed, DIG National CrimeRecords Bureau, held a meeting with North 24 Parganas DistrictMagistrate Vinod Kumar and Superintendent of Police RahulSrivastava, besides visiting Sashan area, that recentlywitnessed clashes between CPI(M) and Trinamool activists.

The two officials visited the home of MahanandaSardar, a Trinamool worker killed in the recent politicalviolence at Sasan. Some villagers there complained about ofpolice inaction.

Two others EC observers, P R K Naidu, DIG NationalCrime Records Bureau and V S Reddy, DIG Andhra Pradesh,visited West Midnapore, Burdwan, Purulia and Bankuradistricts.

In Burdwan district, Naidu and Reddy visited Kheruavillage, where many villagers have fled since violence brokeout a year ago following the killing of a local CPI-M leader.

They visited local Trinamool Congress leader DebuDhara, whose house was burnt down.

Villagers told the two officials how a Trinamoolsupporter Dilip Ghosh of Brahmapur village was killed with histhroat slit, eyes gouged out and tongue cut-off.

The villagers said that they had informed theofficials about the existence of camps of CPI(M) armed cadrein Kowarpur, Dhanrukhi and Atkula villages.

They earlier in the day held a meeting with WestMidnapore District Magistrate Surindar Gupta andSuperintendent of Police Manoj Verma at the circuit house inMidnapore town.

They told the DM that the full six-member team wouldbe back on January 20 or 21 as part of their mission to submita report to the Election Commission.

They visited Bankura and Purulia districts in theevening and held meetings with the district magistrates andsuperintendents of police.

Meanwhile, state Additional Chief Electoral Officer NK Sahana complained that they were in the dark about the visitof the EC observers.

"We are in the dark. They are making their ownschedule of visits," Sahana told reporters here.

Sahana said the EC observers were informing thedistricts authorities only half an hour before arrival.

Meanwhile, CPI(M) state secretary and Left Frontchairman Biman Bose said it was unprecedented that policeofficers from others states had been sent by the EC asobservers when the election notification and dates were yetto be announced.

"Sending EC observers to assess law and order isunprecedented in West Bengal. It never happened in the past,"he said in Bolpur in Birbhum district.

Bose said a watch was being kept on the observers. "Wewill comment later.

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