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Trinamool activists attack poll officials, under EC scanner

Posted on Apr 10 2014 | IANS

Kolkata, April 10 : Trinamool Congress activists Thursday allegedly assaulted Election Commission officials in West Bengal's Malda district for objecting to a party candidate's rally, the district authorities said. The poll panel has sought a detailed report on the incident.

The incident happened in Manikchak area in the district, when the officials objected to a motorbike rally being taken out in support of the party's candidate from Malda South, Moajjim Hussain as such rallies are prohibited.

As soon as the officials protested, several Trinamool activists assaulted them.

Malda District Magistrate S.K. Dwivedi told IANS: "A report in this regard has been sought from the block development officer, and whoever is found guilty will be punished."

"The party workers had not taken any police permission for the rally and there were about 250-300 bikes in the rally despite this being prohibited. When we tried to stop them, several Trinamool activists assaulted and abused us. They even broke our camera. We are feeling apprehensive doing our work for the EC," said one of the assaulted officials, Ajit Das.

Though he was caught on camera, Hussain has denied his presence at the site.

The EC has received a preliminary report about the incident from the district administration and two first information reports (FIRs) have been filed.

"We have received a preliminary report regarding the assault on a model code of conduct violation monitoring team. We are awaiting the detailed report which will be sent to the Commission," said Amit Roy Chaudhury, officer on special duty (EC).

"Two FIR have been lodged at Manikchak police station regarding the assault on officials and unauthorised bikes," he aid, adding security of officials is "under active consideration" of the commission.

The incident comes a day after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, speaking at a rally, vowed to avenge the "insult" inflicted by the EC when it ordered the state government to transfer eight officials.

"The insult, that you have meted us by transferring our SPs (superintendents of police) and DMs, will be avenged. But, it will be through ballots and not bullets," Banerjee said Wednesday after her government executed the poll panel's order to transfer the officials, including five police superintendents and a district magistrate.

The Congress and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) have attacked Banerjee over Thursday's incident and urged the EC to take suitable action.

"The way the CM is publicly attacking the EC and vowing to avenge, it is spurring her party workers to do what they are doing, it is shameful," said CPI-M leader Rabin Deb.

Echoing similar views, Congress leader Pradip Bhattacharya stressed the need for taking stringent action to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.

Earlier, the block development officer of Habra in North 24-Parganas district alleged that he was assaulted and insulted by the Trinamool activists for removing Banerjee's banners and posters. In Howrah, an election team was attacked by Trinamool workers for removing the party flags.

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