An Assam Rifles soldier opened fire inside his camp in Bagnan in West Bengal's Howrah district today, killing a fellow soldier and injuring two others before being taken into custody. The soldier, later identified as Lakshmikant Barman, was part of a detachment on poll duty in the region, and is reportedly suffering from "mental issues".
Central forces have been deployed in the region ahead of Lok Sabha polls for the Howrah constituency, which votes on May 6 in the sixth phase of elections. Results will be declared on May 23.
"Lakshmikant Barman, who was on poll duty, fired 13 rounds at the camp in Bagnan. It was recently found that he was not keeping well, and had certain mental issues. So he was kept off duty but he grabbed a gun and opened fire," Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Siddhi Nath Gupta was quoted in an IANS report.
The man who was shot dead has been identified as Assistant Sub Inspector Bholanath Das and the injured have been named as Anil Rajbanshi and Rantu Mani.
The gunfight follows an alleged attack on BJP candidate Joy Bandyopadhyay in Bainan, which falls under under Bagnan police limits, on Sunday. The BJP leader is the party nominee for the Uluberia seat, which also votes on May 6.
The shootout also comes after several other reports of poll-related violence from the state.
Trinamool Congress and BJP workers clashed on Monday during the fourth phase of voting. The most violent attacks were reported from Asansol, where Union Minister Babul Supriyo had his car vandalised.
The BJP candidate, who contested the election from Asansol, later said, "I will take central forces with me. People are saying give us central forces, let us vote".
Violence was also reported from Birbhum district, close to Shantiniketan, the education centre set up by Rabindranath Tagore, in the north-western part of the state.
The BJP has filed a complaint with the Election Commission about the violence in the state and alleged several instances of booth capturing. The Trinamool too, has complained to the Commission, alleging "illegal action of central forces" and violation of the Model Code of Conduct by BJP candidates in Bengal.
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