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AFP
June 12, 2019

Three killed in fresh political violence in India’s West Bengal

World

AFP
June 12, 2019

KOLKATA: Three people died in fresh political violence between members of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party and a local rival in restive West Bengal state, authorities said on Tuesday.

Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Trinamool Congress -- which runs the state -- have accused each other of instigating weeks of violence during and since India’s recent election.

A police official said the bodies of two BJP members were found hanging from a tree in Howrah district over the past 48 hours, while a Trinamool stalwart was killed by a crude bomb blast late on Monday, east of Kolkata.

On Saturday four people died and at least 18 were injured in gun battles between BJP and Trinamool supporters in Sandeshkhali district. The BJP, which has traditionally held sway in the Hindi-speaking belt in the north, has been trying hard to pick up support in West Bengal.

In the elections that ended last month with a big national victory for Modi, the BJP increased its tally of seats in the state to 18 from just two at the last vote in 2014.

On Tuesday locals in Sandeshkhali remained tense. "There is a continuous sense of fear," resident Rabin Mondal told AFP by telephone. "We are spending sleepless nights. Many have fled."

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