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Poll panel team heckled in Malda

Malda, April 15: A team of election officials was yesterday heckled in Malda’s Kaliachak by alleged Trinamul activists who confined the trio to their car for half an hour and abused them when they went to remove the ruling party’s banners.

Today’s heckling is the second instance in five days in Malda district when Trinamul activists tried to stop model code of conduct officials from doing their work.

Dwiptarka Basu, the BDO of Kaliachak I, said the team had gone to Alinagar village to remove Trinamul banners on a government property when around 15 Trinamul activists ringed them.

The local Trinamul leadership, however, said the team had tried to remove flags and banners outside a private residence. Trinamul leaders said their supporters had protested the removal of the pictures, but nobody was heckled.

According to the BDO, the MCC team comprising three officials and a video cameraman, was sent to Alinagar after the poll officials got complaints that Trinamul had put up flags and banners on a government property.

“The team went to the spot around 5pm. When they tried to remove the flags, they were heckled and pushed by Trinamul supporters. Later, they were kept confined to the vehicle for half an hour. I have lodged a complaint, without naming anyone, with Kaliachak police,” Basu said.

He said that the entire incident had been videographed and a copy was being sent to the Election Commission.

Mehboob Alam, a Trinamul worker in Alinagar, said the MCC team had tried to remove flags and banners from his house.

“The team came and started removing the flags from outside my house. When I protested, they did not listen and took the flags and banners with them. No one was heckled,” Alam said.

Trinamul minister Sabitri Mitra, whose son-in-law was arrested for the April 10 attack on MCC officials in Manikchak, today said: “There is not a single party flag on any government building in Alinagar. I can challenge the EC to find one. All banners, posters and flags are on the houses belonging to our supporters. The EC is acting on behalf of the Congress.”

Kaliachak is part of Malda South constituency. Manikchak, where the previous attack happened, is also in the same seat.

Trinamul candidate Moazzem Hossain, who was seen in a video footage during the attack on poll officials on April 10, said: “There was no incident of heckling or assault. The whole matter is being blown out of proportion.”

Malda police superintendent Rupesh Kumar said the video footage was being studied. “We have received a complaint and we are going through the video footage to identify the culprits,” he said.