Mamata saddened over deaths in rural-poll violence, gives police free hand to act against culprits

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said she is saddened at the loss of lives in “sporadic” incidents of violence during rural polls. Banerjee also asserted that her government has given a free hand to the police to take action against those behind the violence..

“I am saddened at the loss of lives in sporadic incidents of violence during panchayat elections… The polls were held in 71,000 booths, but incidents of violence took place in not more than 60 booths,” she said.

The chief minister claimed that 19 people, mostly from her TMC, died in poll-related violence since the election date was announced on June 8..

Police sources, however, have put the number of fatalities at 37.

“I am giving police free hand to the police to act against those behind the violence,” she told reporters at the state secretariat ‘Nabanna’.

Banerjee also appealed for peace and harmony in the aftermath of the polls.