"Genocide": Mamata Banerjee On Violence Outside Bengal Polling Booth

Calling it "genocide", the Bengal Chief Minister said the CISF was only qualified to deal with industrial matters and is not experienced in crowd control.

"People must be allowed to vote," Mamata Banerjee said.

Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has labelled the killing of four people in central force firing at Cooch Behar "a genocide" and said the victims were "sprayed with bullets in the chest and neck". "This is genocide. They have fired just like a fire spray. They should have fired below the wait. But they have fired at neck and chest," she said.

Ms Banerjee, who was speaking at a press meet in Siliguri in north Bengal today, said, "The CISF is not trained for mob control. Now they want to suppress facts. That's why they banned entry into Cooch Behar for 72 hours," she added.

"What has happened is unprecedented. I wanted to stand by the people of Sitalkuchi today but I have been stopped for 72 hours. I will go and meet the victim families on the 14th, once the EC ban on entry of politicians ends," she said.

On Saturday, around 10.30 am, the CISF on duty at booth number 126 at Jorpatki in Sitalkuchi constituency had opened fire in which four people died and at least another person received a bullet injury.

The Special Police Observer appointed by the Election Commission, Vivek Dube, sent a report saying the CISF had to fire in self-defence when villagers tried to snatch their weapons. There was a misunderstanding between villages and the CISF, he had said.

Ms Banerjee today said "outsiders" had opened fire in violation of rules.

"There are rules -- first lathi (batons), then tear gas, water cannon... There are rules. I don't want to do politics with this. I have been saying from the start. They are gheraoing men and not allowing them to vote. People must be allowed to vote. The vote is befitting reply," the Chief Minister said today at a press conference at north Bengal's Siliguri.

The Centre, she said, is "trying to suppress the fact". "They are giving clean chit," she added.

The Chief Minister -- who could not visit the spot by the Election Commission order barring political leaders from the area --  also did a video call with some of the bereaved families.

"The Election Commission has not allowed me to go to Sitalkuchi. The MCC (Model Code of Conduct) has become the BJP Code of Conduct… Just to satisfy the BJP, I have been stopped from meeting the families," she said. The Election Commission's three-day ban will end on Tuesday.

Manjur Mian, a relative of Hamidul Mian who died, said his brother, a mason, was shot while he was "standing in queue to vote". "He has a three-year-old daughter. His wife is expecting another baby," he added.