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3-year-old shot in head in latest Bengal clash over local body elections

BJP and Trinamool Congress blame each other; violence over panchayat boards has killed 10 since August 25.

india Updated: Aug 31, 2018 00:17 IST
Sreyasi Pal
Sreyasi Pal
Hindustan Times, Berhampore
Bengal,Trinamool Congress,BJP
Security personnel walk past burnt ballot boxes lying on a road after violence during panchayat elections in Rampur in South Dinajpur district of West Bengal in May. (PTI)

A three-year-old boy is in critical condition after being shot in the head in West Bengal’s Malda district on Thursday in the latest clash over elections to panchayat boards that has claimed 10 lives since August 25.

The Bharatiya Janata Party and the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress traded charges over the identity of the attackers. Putul Mondal, the attacked boy’s mother, won a seat on the board of the Manikchak panchayat on a BJP ticket, but later decided to move to the TMC.

The TMC claimed BJP “toughs” shot Mrinal Mondal while targeting his parents, but the BJP denied this.

“You should demand an explanation from the ruling party for the culture of guns and bombs. We are being attacked. Our men are being killed and injured across the state,” said Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh.

“I think Trinamool men are behind this incident. Our men do not have weapons,” said BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha.

“BJP-backed toughs shot a child and are now laying the blame at Trinamool’s door. Our chief minister (Mamata Banerjee) has spoken against the culture of violence all along,” countered West Bengal panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee.

“BJP loves discovering Trinamool Congress’s hand in everything. But I am in no position to make any comment unless I get a report from the police,” said Partha Chatterjee, West Bengal education minister and party secretary general.

In Manikchak, the BJP won 10 seats, Trinamool 6, the Congress and an independent candidate won a seat each.

The Congress and independent candidates joined the Trinamool after the elections. Putul Mondal won on a BJP ticket but the Trinamool allegedly lured her away.

In the election of the pradhan, the BJP and Trinamool were tied at nine votes. The BJP won the pradhan and deputy pradhan’s posts in a lottery to break the tie.

“Putul Mondal was promised an amount in the range of Rs 5-7 lakh by TMC. When she went to demand the money today, Trinamool supporters declined to pay since they could not form the board,” alleged Sanjit Mishra, BJP’s Malda district president.

“Putul Mondal joined our party to join the bandwagon of development. But BJP-backed goons shot at her child,” said Trinamool’s Malda district president Dulal Sarkar.

First Published: Aug 30, 2018 20:14 IST