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Bengal Panchayat polls: No information was provided on sensitive booths, says BSF DIG


New Delhi [India]: Despite repeated requests from the Border Security Force (BSF) on sensitive polling booths, the West Bengal State Election Commission didn’t provide any information on such booths to the central security forces, a senior BSF official said on Sunday.

SS Guleria, DIG BSF said that BSF has written several letters to the state election commission seeking information on sensitive polling booths but no information was provided except on June 7, when they were informed of just the numbers of such booths but nothing about their location or any other information. He added that the deployment of BSF was at the behest of local administration.

“There were 59,000 troops of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) and state armed police arrived from 25 states for election duty but they were not adequately utilised on sensitive polling booths,” he said.

The state declared only 4834 sensitive booths on which only CAPFs are deployed but actually, there were more sensitive polling booths, DIG Guleria said.

On Saturday, at least 13 people were killed and several injured in violence reported across the state during the Panchayat poll. There were reports of booth capturing, damaging of ballot boxes and assault of presiding officers from several districts such as Murshidabad, Cooch Behar, Malda, South 24 Parganas, North Dinajpur and Nadia.

BSF informed that the State Election Commission has set up a total of 61,636 polling booths to conduct elections for 3317 Gram Panchayats, 341 Panchayat Samitis and 20 Zila Parishads in the state of West Bengal on Saturday.

To ensure the safe conduct of the polls, 59,000 personnel of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) and other state police forces have been given the responsibility for the security of polling booths across the state which also includes 4834 sensitive booths on which only CAPFs are deployed, they further informed.

After the completion of the polling process in the evening, all the ballot boxes were kept secured in the 339 strong rooms across the state and the responsibility to secure the strong rooms is given to Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF).

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