Bengal fears bloodbath during panchayat polls after 16 killed in explosions in five months
Opposition parties alleged that the polls will witness a re-run of the violence experienced by the state’s electorate in the 2018 panchayat elections. KOLKATA: With panchayat polls nearing, sporadic explosions in different parts of Bengal in the past few months have raised fears that the state is going to witness a massive bloodbath in the upcoming electoral exercise.
Ten explosions at crude bomb manufacturing units have already claimed a total of 16 lives, including three minors, in the past five months. Opposition parties alleged that the polls will witness a re-run of the violence experienced by the state’s electorate in the 2018 panchayat elections. “The explosions took place when either crude bombs were being manufactured or fire caught the stockpile of explosives accidentally. In some of the cases, many children were injured when they hit bombs thinking it was a ball,” said a police officer.
ALSO READ | Death toll in Bengal fire-cracker factory blast rises to 5, Mamata announces compensation The most recent major explosion took place on May 16 in which nine people, including a student of Class X, were killed. “During the course of investigation, sleuths of the criminal investigation department found Krishnapada Bag alias Bhanu had set up a bomb manufacturing unit on his property where his family members used to go frequently,” said a senior police officer.
Sensing discontent among the people in Egra, who supported the TMC in the 2021 Assembly elections, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has decided to visit the area on Saturday. “The chief minister will meet the people of the area and may announce help for the families of the deceased,” said an official of the state government. Opposition parties alleged that the recent incidents of explosions are clear evidence that the ruling party is gearing up for violence during the panchayat elections. “They will not only unleash violence on us. There will be countless number of intra-party clashes in the TMC over the issue of getting tickets for candidature.
The crude bombs being manufactured will also hurt their own comrades,” said CPI(M)’s central committee member Sujan Chakrabarty. In 2018, the ruling Trinamool Congress won 30 per cent of the total seats in panchayats, panchayat samitis and zilla parishads uncontested and the opposition parties alleged the TMC did not allow them to field candidates by flexing its muscle. (THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)