Bengal polls: Police firing, stray violence reported in 6th phase; 79.09 pc turnout

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((Eds: Adds details) Kolkata, Apr 22 (PTI) Isolated incidents of violence, including police firing, were reported in the sixth phase of polling in 43 assembly constituencies of West Bengal, which recorded 79.09 per cent voter turnout on Thursday, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Aariz Aftab said.

Seven persons, including two policemen, were injured in two incidents of violence in Bagdah and Barrackpore constituencies in North 24 Parganas district.

'Polling was peaceful today other than two-three incidents of violence,' the CEO said.

The police fired three rounds after about 250 people attacked and injured two policemen near a booth in the Bagdah seat. The police went there after the sector officer was attacked, Aftab said.

The police personnel, including the officer-in-charge (OC) of Bagda police station, were admitted to a hospital. Two other persons, of whom one has bullet injuries, were also hospitalised, the CEO said.

'The police had to fire three rounds in Bagdah where the sector officer was attacked. After getting this news, OC Bagdah and his team reached the spot outside booth number 35 and 36 in Ranaghat pre-primary school,' he said.

'The OC tried to talk to them but it led to an altercation. The mob attacked them and their vehicle. To save themselves and save the property, the police had to fire three rounds,' ADG and IGP (Law and Order) Jag Mohan said.

The OC and a constable suffered cut injuries in the attack and both were hospitalised, he said.

In another incident, three persons were injured when bombs were thrown outside a booth at Khardaha in Barrackpore constituency, Aftab said.

'They are undergoing treatment at a nearby hospital.

Two persons have been arrested in this connection, the CEO said.

The Election Commission earlier in the day dismissed allegations by the Trinamool Congress that two of its activists were injured in firing by central forces in Ashok Nagar constituency in North 24 Parganas district, an official said.

Aftab said that at least 79.09 per cent of more than one crore voters exercised their franchise till 5 pm in the sixth phase.

Polling was held between 7 am and 6.30 pm at 14,480 polling stations in 17 assembly constituencies in North 24 Parganas district, nine each in Nadia and Uttar Dinajpur districts and eight in Purba Bardhaman district.

Among the four districts, Nadia registered the highest voter turnout of 82.67 per cent, followed by Purba Bardhaman (82.15 per cent), Uttar Dinajpur (77.76 per cent) and North 24 Parganas (75.94 per cent), Aftab added.

The Election Commission has deployed 1,071 companies of central forces for the sixth phase.

The state will witness two more phases of polling on April 26 and 29. Votes will be counted on May 2. PTI SCH NN NN