Kolkata | Jagran Political Desk: Taking strict action over the violence in West Bengal's Cooch Behar that claimed the lives of four people, the election commission on Saturday night banned politicians across the political spectrum from entering the geographical boundaries of the district for the next 72 hours with immediate effect.

The poll body also defended the alleged firing by the troops of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and said that it became "absolutely necessary" to save the lives of the other poll officials present at the duty in Cooch Behar.

"Recourse to open fire by CISF personnel became absolutely necessary in order to save lives of voters lined up at the polling booth, those of other polling personnel and their own lives as the mob had attempted snatching their weapons," the EC said, as reported by news agency ANI.

Earlier in the day, four people were killed after the CISF allegedly opened fire at a mob that tried to vandalise polling both in Cooch Behar. The CISF said that the firing was done after a mob of around 150 people attacked the polling officials at the Sitalkuchi polling booth, injuring several people.

"Firstly, they beat up the Head of Home Guard and Asha worker who were present on the duty at the booth. CISF Booth Comdr tried to pacify the miscreants but the mob entered the polling booth and further beaten up the other polling staff on duty. Few miscreants tried to snatch the weapons of CISF personnel deployed there," it said in a statement.

Mamata Banerjee orders CID probe

Meanwhile, TMC chief Mamata Banerjee has ordered a CID probe into the Cooch Behar incident. She also questioned the central forces and said that there is no video footage or any other proof to substantiate claims of the CISF that locals "attempted to snatch their rifles". She also demanded the resignation of Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

"Where does this theory come from? Who was injured on their part? Is there any footage? After killing those people, they were supporting the act," Banerjee was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

Meanwhile, the fourth phase of assembly elections in West Bengal that will decide the fate of Union Minister Babul Supriyo and several other TMC leaders ended on Saturday with an estimated voter turnout of 76.16 per cent. The fifth phase will be held on April 17 while the fate of the candidates will be announced on May 2.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma