Indian troops kill 4 in election bloodshed

New Delhi

Five people were killed in fresh election bloodshed in the Indian state of West Bengal on Saturday, including four shot dead by paramilitary troops “in self-defence”, officials said.

West Bengal in eastern India has seen thousands killed in decades of political violence, and the current state election campaign has triggered deadly clashes between rival parties.

The latest incident in the northern district of Coochbehar 700 kilometres north of Kolkata saw a crowd of around 400 people surround troops guarding a polling station.

“Paramilitary troops opened fire in self-defence after being challenged by over 400 people,” a senior Election Commission official said.

“They also formed a ring around the troops and tried to snatch rifles […] Four people were killed in the shooting.”

Addressing an election rally in Siliguri, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee “and her goons provoked the paramilitary forces to open fire”.— AFP

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