Updated: April 11, 2021 7:36:22 am
A pall of gloom descended on Jorpatki village in Cooch Behar district’s Sitalkuchi area on Saturday after Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel shot dead four villagers while polling was underway in the fourth phase of the Assembly elections.
According to an eyewitness, the security personnel fired shots after being surrounded by villagers incensed by a rumour that the CISF men had assaulted a 12-year-old boy.
At Amtali school, villager Soffiuddin Mian said, “We heard that a team of central forces beat up 12-year-old Mrinal Haq. After that, everyone in the village got angry. Men and women all gathered at the polling station. There was pushing and shoving. A huge crowd gheraoed the central forces. I ran out of the school ground and then I heard gunshots. There are 950 voters in this booth and I am one of them.”
Those killed were identified as Hamidul Mian (31), Monirujjaman Mian (28), Samiul Haq (18) and Noor Alam Mian (20). Their last rites are set to be held on Sunday.
Hamidul was a migrant labourer who sometimes worked in the nearby town of Mathabhanga as a mason’s helper, and every so often in Sikkim. He lived in the village with his parents, wife and a three-year-old child. His mother-in-law Mofia Bibi said, “We rushed to the hospital to see my son-in-law’s body. The lives of my daughter and her three-year-old are ruined. Nothing can bring him back and take away our pain.”
Samiul, a first-time voter, used to run a cyber-cafe in the village’s Kajir More area and lived with parents, brother and sister. Noor Alam, also a migrant labourer, worked at a brick kiln in Bihar with his parents.
Monirujjaman Mian’s family said he used to work in Sikkim and came home two days ago to vote. His father Amjad Hussain said, “He returned home a couple of days back to vote. If I had known that I would lose him forever, I would have never let him leave home to vote. He has a one-and-a-half years old baby. They say voting is great but see I lost everything for it.”
Monirujjaman’s uncle Mojibul Haq said at the hospital, “We heard about the incident over the phone and now I am at the hospital. Our family is shattered. We want justice and those who killed our boy be punished.”
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