Violence During Final Phase Voting In Bengal, EVM Tossed Into Pond

Clashes were reported in the Satuliya area in Bhangar, within the Jadavpur constituency near Kolkata, between the Indian Secular Front (ISF) and CPI(M) supporters.

The unrest erupted after certain polling agents were allegedly barred from entering booths.


Polling is underway for the nine Lok Sabha constituencies in West Bengal in the seventh phase on Saturday, marked by reports of violence and tension across various areas. Clashes were reported in the Satuliya area in Bhangar, within the Jadavpur constituency near Kolkata, between the Indian Secular Front (ISF) and CPI(M) supporters. The confrontation led to several injuries among ISF members, exacerbated by the presence of country-made bombs.

In Kultali, South 24 Parganas district, an angry mob forced its way into polling stations, seizing an Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) and throwing it into a nearby pond. This incident occurred after some polling agents were allegedly barred from entering the booths, prompting local residents to retaliate by seizing the EVM equipped with Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) and discarding it.

"Today morning at 6.40 am Reserve EVMs & papers of Sector Officer near Benimadhavpur FP school, at 129-Kultali AC of 19-Jaynagar (SC) PC has been looted by local mob and 1 CU, 1 BU , 2VVPAT machines have been thrown inside a pond...FIR has been lodged by Sector Officer and necessary action has been initiated. Poll process in all six booths under the Sector is running uninterrupted. Fresh EVM and papers have been provided to the Sector Officer," the Chief Electoral Officer of West Bengal said in a statement.

Tensions flared in Sandeshkhali under Basirhat Lok Sabha late Friday night and persisted into the early hours of polling. Local women, armed with bamboo sticks, protested against alleged threats from Trinamool Congress (TMC) activists and state police. They accused associates of the now-suspended Trinamool leader Sheikh Shahjahan, who is currently imprisoned, of intimidating their families. State police, however, claimed the unrest began after local BJP supporters assaulted civic volunteers.

Diamond Harbour, the stronghold of TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee, saw clashes between TMC and BJP supporters. BJP candidate Abhijit Das accused TMC of malpractices, which TMC categorically denied.

In Ganguly Bagan in Jadavpur, CPI(M) workers were allegedly assaulted by TMC activists, and their camp offices were ransacked. TMC denied the allegations, accusing CPI(M) of voter intimidation.

Tensions also escalated in Canning in South 24 Parganas district, as clashes erupted between supporters of TMC and BJP within the precincts of Itkhola Gram Panchayat. There have been reports of stone pelting in the area in which a media personnel sustained injuries.

The Leader of Opposition in the West Bengal Assembly, Suvendu Adhikari, and BJP IT cell chief Amit Malviya shared videos of the protests, accusing Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of using party goons and state police to intimidate voters.

In Bhangar, clashes between TMC and All India Secular Front (AISF) activists erupted early on Saturday, injuring a woman AISF activist. Additionally, the vehicle of AISF candidate Nur Alam Khan was vandalised, allegedly by Trinamool supporters.

Polling for the nine Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal, including Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat, Jaynagar, Mathurapur, Diamond Harbour, Jadavpur, Kolkata Dakshin, and Kolkata Uttar, began at 7 am under stringent security measures. Voting will continue until 6 pm.

Prominent candidates in this phase include Mr Banerjee from Diamond Harbour, BJP's Rekha Patra from Basirhat, and CPI(M)'s Sujan Chakraborty from Dum Dum. The polling is being conducted under heavy security, with 1,020 companies of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) in the state, 978 of which are on polling duty. A total of 1,960 quick response teams (QRTs) are deployed statewide to address any tensions.