Post-poll violence has hit India’s eastern state of West Bengal within 24 hours of election results, officials said on Tuesday.
Reports said the violence had claimed the lives of at least a dozen people, a figure that may be higher than the number of those killed during the month-long local elections in the state.
Apart from killing, many more were beaten up during clashes, as many homes and shops were ransacked or torched.
Mamata Banerjee, scheduled to be sworn in as the new chief minister after winning the election, has called for calm though she blamed the rivaling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the violence.
“Bengal is a peace-loving place. During the elections, there has been some heat and dust and calm. The BJP did a lot of torture, also the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF).
“But I appeal to all for calm. Don’t indulge in violence. If there is a dispute, inform the police. The police must manage law and order,’’ Banerjee said.
The BJP, led by President J.P. Nadda who reached Kolkata on Tuesday, would hold a day-long protest across the country on Wednesday, when Banerjee was scheduled to be sworn in as Chief Minister of West Bengal for the third time.
The BJP has claimed that at least six party workers were killed and scores of homes of supporters and party offices attacked, vandalised and set on fire across West Bengal.
Banerjee’s party, the Trinamool Congress, said that five of its supporters have been killed. A worker of the Indian secular front, a partner with the left and Congress in the Samyukta Morcha, was also killed.
Meanwhile, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar took to social media Tuesday, saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed “serious anguish and concern at alarmingly worrisome law and order situation’’ in West Bengal.
“PM calls and expresses his serious anguish and concern at alarmingly worrisome law and order situation. I share grave concerns. Given that violence vandalism, arson, loot and killings continue unabated. We must act in overdrive to restore order,’’ Dhankar wrote on Twitter tagging Mamata Banerjee.
The governor earlier wrote that people were fleeing from violence-hit areas.
“Reports indicate horrendous state of affairs. Horrified people are fleeing to save themselves, Flooded with SOS appeals.
“Harmads are on killing and destruction spree. Such nose-diving of constitutional values cannot be countenanced. Call upon Mamata Banerjee to restore order,’’ he said.
On Sunday, Banerjee led the Trinamool Congress to a spectacular victory in local elections by winning 213 seats from a total of 292 and the BJP managed to bag 77 only in the bitterly-contested electoral battle.