A first-time voter Ananda Barman, 18-year-old, was allegedly shot dead on Saturday in Cooch Behar district of West Bengal. The incident occurred after the clashes broke out between TMC and BJP activists outside booth number 85 in Pathantuli area. Voting is underway with strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols in 44 constituencies, including nine seats in Howrah, 11 in South 24 Parganas, five in Alipurduar, nine in Cooch Behar and 10 in Hooghly.
The incident led to violence in the area as bombs were hurled, prompting central forces to baton-charge to bring the situation under control. The culprits, who are yet to be identified, managed to flee, police said.
Both the TMC and BJP claimed that Barman belonged to their party, but his family members said he was an activist of the saffron party.
“We have received information about a person being shot outside a polling booth in Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar. We have sought a report from the micro observer,” an Election Commission official said.
The Trinamool Congress has moved the EC, complaining against the BJP of not allowing its agents to enter several booths at Coochbehar’s Natabari, Sitalkuchi, Tufanganj, Mathabhanga and Dinhata.
However, BJP has denied the allegations.
Tight security arrangements have been made to ensure peaceful voting with 789 companies of central armed police forces (CAPF) being deployed to guard 15,940 polling stations.