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Gun under belt goes off, kills farmer

April 24: A Congress supporter died after a pistol apparently tucked under his belt went off accidentally and the bullet pierced his abdomen at his home in Murshidabad’s Jalangi, which voted today.

It is not clear why farmer Niaruddin Mondal 40, was carrying the gun. His wife and three children were in another room when the pistol went off, neighbours said.

Abdul Mannan Hossain, the Congress candidate for the Murshidabad seat, said he had heard about the incident but was not sure if Mondal was a party supporter.

In neighbouring Birbhum, the Election Commission has instructed police to conduct intensive raids to seize bombs and arms, three days after a blast in a suspected Trinamul worker’s backyard killed two persons allegedly hired to make explosives before the polls in the district on April 30.

The police observer for Birbhum, A. Natarajan, held a meeting yesterday with district magistrate J.P. Meena, police superintendent Rashid Munir Khan and officers in charge of various police stations to order the raids.

According to sources, the police observer hinted that the officers could be replaced if they failed to play a proactive role in the seizure of arms.

On Monday, around 150 bombs had gone off together in Labhpur, killing two youths in the first deaths in an explosion this poll season. Another blast took place on a road leading to the venue of the chief minister’s rally in Suri two weeks ago, following which a CPM worker was murdered by suspected Trinamul supporters.

The special observer for Bengal, Sudhir Kumar Rakesh, is expected to visit Birbhum tomorrow and take stock of the poll preparedness.

Asked about the raids, Natarajan said: “If they are not satisfactory, I will report to the Election Commission first and then take strict action.”