Friday, May 24, 2024

Violence, booth rigging disrupt polling in Manipur and Bengal

The first round of the Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal and Manipur was marred by incidents of violence.

Firing, booth capturing attempts, and destruction of EVMs have been reported from several polling stations in Manipur, disrupting the polling process. There are unconfirmed reports of people getting injured in these incidents.

Armed men fired several rounds at a polling station in Thamanpokpi, located within the Moirang assembly segment, Times of India reported.

Arambai Tenggop, a pro-BJP Meitei militant organisation allegedly threatened that could be no Congress agent on polling booth. People on social media, claimed that the Police are standing quietly watching the booth capturing.

In Khurai Thangjam Leikai, angry civilians destroyed EVM and election related articles protesting the manipulative and corrupted duty officials.

Additionally, vandalism inside a polling station has also been reported under the Thongju Assembly seat of Imphal East district.

Polling is being held for Manipur’s Inner Manipur Lok Sabha constituency and 15 assembly segments of the Outer Manipur Lok Sabha constituency. The remaining 13 assembly segments of the Outer Manipur constituency will vote on April 26.

In Bengal, several incidents of violence were reported across the three parliamentary seats in the first phase, as TMC and BJP members clashed in various areas of the Cooch Behar seat. 

 According to sources close to both parties, during the first few hours of voting, the TMC and the BJP each filed 80 and 39 complaints, respectively, about incidents of violence against voters, intimidation of voters, and assaults on poll workers. The constituency of Alipurduars and Cooch Behar saw most of the incidents.

In the Sitalkuchi area of the Cooch Behar constituency, the TMC claimed that BJP workers had physically assaulted poll workers, preventing voters from reaching booths. 

 Claiming that the TMC was intimidating voters, the saffron party refuted the claims. 

 Sitalkuchi saw heavy violence during the previous assembly elections, which resulted in the death of four people in firing by central authorities.

Television footage revealed that TMC and BJP workers got into a brawl in the district’s Mathabhanga neighbourhood, injuring each other. Following accusations of intimidation against voters, employees of both parties confronted one another, according to The Telegraph.

Following claims that central forces were helping BJP members rig votes at some booths in the area, TMC workers staged a protest in another part of Mathabhanga. Anant Barman, the TMC block president from Bethguri, was taken to the hospital following reports that BJP activists had physically assaulted him.

The BJP, on the other hand, alleged that voting agents were stopped from entering booths in the Cooch Behar South district, and party workers were abducted by TMC members. 

A district BJP spokesman alleged that five BJP workers in the Mathabhanga area were attacked by TMC members, leaving them injured and admitted to the hospital. 

In the neighbouring Alipurduras constituency, the TMC alleged that CRPF personnel and BJP leaders were threatening and harassing voters, forcing them to vote for the saffron camp. 

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