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Kolkata, July 8 – Amid widespread violence, voting started on Saturday for the three-tier panchayat elections in West Bengal, with three deaths reported.
Murshidabad district, which has always been the epicentre of violence during the previous panchayat polls, witnessed massive violence again on Saturday within the first few minutes of voting.
Following clashes between CPI-M and Trinamool Congress activists in Raninagar, at least 24 persons were severely injured.
Yaseen Shaikh, a local Trinamool Congress leader, was reportedly shot dead at Beldanga 2 block under the Rejinagar police station in Murshidabad.
Reports have also surfaced about the murder of Congress worker Shahbuddin Shaikh at Domkal, Murshidabad.
Violence was also reported from the Cooch Behar district, where a polling booth at Baravita primary school in Sitai blockwas vandalised, with ballot boxes broken and ballet papers destroyed just a few minutes after the polling started at around 7.30 a.m.
BJP polling agent Madhav Biswas has reportedly been shot dead in Falitbari, Cooch Behar.
Bhangar in South 24 Parganas, which witnessed massive violence and three deaths during the nomination process, also became tense on Saturday morning following clashes and gun battle between Trinamool Congress and All India Secular Front (AISF) activists.
Two AISF activists, who were reportedly shot, have been hospitalised and are currently under critical condition.
Meanwhile, clashes between Congress and Trinamool Congress activists were also reported in Malda district on Saturday morning.
Since the polling dates were announced on June 8, a total of 22 people have been killed in election-related violence.
Counting of votes will take place on July 11.