Bengal panchayat elections: 1 poll official found dead on train tracks near Raiganj
Kolkata: The West Bengal state election commission and the state administration were on Wednesday left facing a highly embarrassing situation over the ongoing panchayat election after a middle-aged poll official was found dead on the train tracks near Raiganj station.
Colleagues of the deceased alleged that Rajkumar Ray, who was acting as a presiding officer at a booth in Raiganj, was on Monday evening abducted by unknown miscreants trying to rig the polls. His mutilated body was found on tracks near Raiganj station the next day.
Ray’s family and colleagues have alleged that he was murdered for standing up to miscreants.
The state election commission declined to comment on Ray’s death. The commission is not briefed on this matter by the district administration, said key officials, asking not to be named.
The district administration said an arm of the state police had been asked to probe the death, adding that a railway official from Raiganj-bound Radhikapur Express had on the night of Monday-Tuesday filed a so called “knock down” memo.
District magistrate Ayesha Rani A. said Ray had gone missing from the polling booth, and that he did not report to the block development officer that night. Ray’s body was recovered from the train tracks close to Raiganj station by the Government Railway Police, or GRP, she added.
Shahidur Rahman, principal of the madrasa where Ray taught, said after he went incommunicado on Monday evening, colleagues immediately raised an alarm with district officials, but they started to look for him only on Tuesday morning.
More than two dozen people have been killed in West Bengal since Sunday evening in clashes over polling, which took place on Monday.
The state administration has so far admitted to at least six poll-related deaths, claiming that the scale of violence witnessed this year was lower than the previous elections in 2013. There were reports of isolated clashes on Wednesday as well, when re-poll took place in as many as 573 booths. The votes are to be counted on Thursday.
Under an order of the Supreme Court, polling took place in around 66% of the seats. Election was not held to the remaining seats because opposition parties could not field candidates and have demanded that nominations filed through electronic messaging be treated as legitimate.
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