Three-and-a-half-year-old bears brunt of poll violence in Bengal

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Kolkata, April 25 (IANS) A three-and-a-half-year-old girl was beaten up alongside other members of her family allegedly by masked men in order to deter them from exercising their right to vote during the fourth phase of West Bengal assembly polls on Monday.

The incident happened on Sunday night in North 24 Parganas’ Halisahar, which comes under Bijpur, one of 49 constituencies which went to the polls during the day.

“Several masked men barged into the house armed with sticks and attacked us. When I tried to intervene, they abused me and assaulted me warning all of us not to vote. They did not even spare my daughter,” said the mother of the toddler.

Still to overcome the trauma of the attack, the child described how she was beaten up.

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“They beat me here,” said the child pointing to her hand.

Undeterred by the attack and warnings of getting “shot dead”, the woman later carrying her little girl, cast her vote.

“When they attacked me, my family, even my baby daughter, we had said we will not vote. But once they have attacked us, now they will attack us again. So it’s better to get beaten after exercising my right,” said the woman after casting her vote.

The Election Commission took cognisance of the matter and police subsequently arrested two people in this connection.

While the family said they could not identify the attackers, the Communist Party of India-Marxist accused the ruling Trinamool Congress of being behind the attack.

Condemning the attack, CPI-M state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra said the family was attacked as the child’s father was a Left Front polling agent.

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“Even a three and half year old child is not spared by Trinamool goons, his father is a Left polling agent. We salute the brave mother. We stand with all our might by this indomitable family,” he said.

Accusing the Trinamool of targeting even babies, elderly and women, Mishra said the “attacks were a reflection of the Trinamool’s frustration at losing ground”.



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