CISF firing kills 4 in Bengal: EC bans political visits to Cooch Behar, extends 'silent period' for phase 5 polls to 72 hrs

FP Staff
·2 min read

The Election Commission on Saturday put in place certain restrictions, including extending the "silence period" from 48 hours to 72 hours, for the fifth phase of polling West Bengal after violence in the Cooch Behar district.

It also barred the entry of politicians in Cooch Behar district for the next 72 hours to prevent any possible law and order flare-up.

Besides, candidates will now not be allowed to canvass door to door 72 hours before the end of the polling hour instead of the usual 48 hours prior to the conclusion of the exercise.

"The Election Commission of India further directs that the silence period for phase 5 (i.e. for polls scheduled on April 17) shall be extended to 72 hours and no campaigning shall be permitted during 72 hours before the close of the poll in order to ensure the conduct of free, fair and peaceful elections," an EC order said.

The silence period is generally for 48 hours.

The order also said that in Cooch Behar, comprising nine Assembly constituencies (AC Numbers 1 to 9) where voting will be over by Saturday, no political leader from any national, state or another party should be allowed to enter the geographical boundaries of the district for the next 72 hours.

"This comes into force with immediate effect," the poll panel said.

The decision came after four people were killed in the district as central forces opened fire allegedly when they were attacked by locals who "attempted to snatch their rifles" in Sitalkuchi during the fourth phase of voting on Saturday.

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The Election Commission ordered stopping the voting exercise at polling station number 126 after the incident where a repoll will be held later.

According to PTI, the incident occurred when a quick reaction team (QRT) of the CISF allegedly came under attack during a security patrol and a child was injured in the commotion.

According to a PTI report, it all started around 9.35 am when a CISF team, led by an Inspector-rank officer, was inspecting the Jor Patki area of Sitalkuchi constituency jointly with the local police to "clear the elements which were resisting" the voters from reaching the polling booth no 126 at Amtali Madhyamik Shiksha Kendra and other locations nearby.

The security personnel intervened to stop a crowd of about 50-60 people, and in the commotion, a child fell down.

After this, some "miscreants" attacked the four-wheeler carrying the CISF quick reaction team (QRT) and the personnel on-board, PTI quoted sources as saying.

With inputs from PTI

Also See: West Bengal Election 2021: Two BJP MPs, Union Minister in fray from 44 seats in phase 4; date, time of polling

West Bengal Assembly Election 2021: Full list of 44 constituencies set to vote in phase 4 today

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