Three persons were killed and at least 15 injured in West Bengal as violent political clashes over the formation of the state Panchayat boards continued, police said on Wednesday.
Armed clashes took place between groups allegedly belonging to the ruling Trinamool Congress and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) in North 24 Parganas district's Amdanga block late on Tuesday night.
"The clash erupted over the Gram Panchayat board formation in a number of villages in the block," an officer from Amdanga police station said.
According to local residents, two of the deceased were Trinamool Congress activists while the third person belonged to the CPI-M.
Police have arrested 12 people including CPI-M district committee member Ahmed Khan, for inciting unrest in the area that was found littered with crude bombs, splinters, cartridges on Wednesday morning.
South Bengal's IGP Niraj Kumar Singh said arms were seized from the village and investigations were going on to find out whether the arms were imported or manufactured locally.
Political parties blamed each other for the clash and claimed their members were stopped from forming the boards.
"We were keeping a close watch on Amdanga as the CPI-M was importing arms and ammunition from Bangladesh. Police earlier conducted raids and they hid these arms before the search operations. The attack on our party activists was a conspiracy to restrain us from forming the panchayat board," Trinamool leader and Bengal Minister Jyotipriya Mallick said.
CPI-M leader and MP Mohammad Salim alleged that "it was the consequence of Trinamool's attempts to make panchayats without opposition. They want to form boards at any cost."
Ten people have allegedly been killed since August 25 in political clashes over the Panchayat boards formation in different Bengal districts.
The situation in several districts has been tense over the last few days over the Panchayat boards formation after the Supreme Court permitted the notification of the results of 20,159 un-contested seats in the state Panchayat polls.