Violence in Darjeeling a day after polls, boy injured

Poll station workers transport Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) and Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines with a horse on the trek to the remote high altitude Darjeeling constituency polling station. AFP photo.

A day after Darjeeling went to polls in the second phase of Lok Sabha elections, violence broke out in the Hills on Friday allegedly between the supporters of rival political parties, triggering panic among the locals, an election official said.

Bombs were hurled and bullets fired by unidentified men, injuring a student of a local school in Chopra area of the Darjeeling seat, he said.

A huge contingent of state police has been sent to the Hills take control of the situation, the official said.

"Police personnel are doing the needful to bring the situation under control. We are trying to find out who all are creating disturbances in the area. No one has been arrested so far," he told PTI.

Asked about the condition of the injured boy, the official said he was undergoing treatment at a local hospital, but could not give details about the nature of his injuries.

The EC had described Wednesday's polling in three Lok Sabha constituencies -- Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Raiganj -- as "peaceful", but stray incidents of violence were reported from Chopra and Islampur in Raiganj seat among other areas.

Voters in Chopra had put up a road blockade Thursday in protest against the absence of central forces at the polling booths, where they were reportedly stopped from exercising their franchise.

The police had to burst tear gas shells to control the irate mob, who threw stones at them.  Many police personnel were injured in the clashes, the official said.

In Raiganj, a reporter and a camera person of a local news channel were manhandled as they were covering the poll process in Kataphulbari area, he said, adding that an FIR has been filed in the case.

In another area of the constituency, miscreants damaged the EVMs and VVPATs.

Till 6 pm on Wednesday, an estimated 79.35 per cent polling was recorded in Raiganj and 86.44 per cent n Jalpaiguri, another election official said.

"We are yet to receive the poll figures from Darjeeling. The polling agents from remote areas of the Hill constituency haven't returned as yet," he added.

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