Sitalkuchi killings: post-mortem reports indicate firing was aimed from less than 10-metre

Four persons were killed when Central forces opened fire on April 10.

Four people died in Central forces’ firing in Sitalkuchi of Cooch Behar district on April 10, during the fourth phase of Assembly elections in West Bengal. Post mortem reports of the deceased have now indicated that the firing was done from less than 10-metre distance, according to a report published in the Bengali daily, Bartaman.

Questions are now being raised as to why the firing by CISF personnel had not aimed at the lower part of the body instead, since it was done at such close range. The news report said that top police officers are wondering as to how the Central forces personnel can claim that they had fired for self defence, the way it has been claimed by their personnel in the initial reports on the incident submitted to the Election Commission of India.

Hamidul Mian, Maniruzzaman Mian, Noor Alam and Samidul Alam were the four persons killed in the firing. Questions have already been raised as to why the firing was aimed at people and why shots were not fired in the air instead. The state’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) is probing the incident.

According to the post mortem reports, Hamidul was shot from behind, and from a close range that is less than 10-metre from him. Noor Alam and Maniruzzaman were also shot from close range, the reason why they were hit on the head. Samidul had a head injury – he appeared to have been hit by something heavy. He has splinter injury on the chest. He may have been hit by the butt of gun or something heavy. There is also a possibility of bombs being used at the site, for which splinters were detected. However, the possibility of bombs being there has been mentioned in earlier police reports.

The four persons died as CISF personnel opened fire following an alleged clash as voting was under way. Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has termed the killings as “genocide”. Her party has said that all four were Trinamool Congress workers.

Earlier in the day, another person was shot dead outside a booth. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said that the person worked for their party.

A special team was formed by the CID to probe into the incident. The team has asked for all the necessary documents from Mathabhanga police station. The Calcutta High Court has asked for a report on the incident from the CID to be submitted on May 5.