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“No casualty where central forces were deployed”: BSF after violence in WB Panchayat polls

Kolkata (West Bengal) [India] : After a wave of violence claimed at least 10 lives in West Bengal during Panchayat polls on Saturday, the Border Security Force (BSF) officials on Sunday said that no casualty was reported at the places where the central forces were deployed.

Deputy Inspector General of BSF SS Guleria said that the central force did not receive any list marking sensitive and very sensitive polling booths to deploy personnel there. “Yesterday troops of BSF, CAPF and State Armed Forces were deployed for the Panchayat polls. No casualty was reported at the places these troops were deployed. Wherever these troops were deployed the elections were conducted smoothly…We did not receive a list of sensitive, very sensitive polling booths which is helpful for the deployment of forces,” SS Guleria said.

He further said that the BSF wrote to the state election commission but did not receive any information 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.

The three-tier panchayat elections in 20 districts were marked by widespread violence, looting of ballots papers and rigging.  At least 10 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.

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.

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.



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