BOGAKHALI, India — Riya Mondal could not stop crying. Standing in front of the burned-out shell of her family’s home and adjacent appliance repair shop, she pointed to the blackened cage that once held her two beloved parrots.
After a minute, she caught her breath. “They ransacked the house on Sunday,” said Ms. Mondal, who is Hindu. “The next day, they came back and burned it.”
Just down the road, one of her Muslim neighbors, Mamtaj Bibi Khatun, walked gingerly on the shattered terra cotta roof tiles that covered her floor, recounting how she had run out of her house just moments before masked men tossed a Molotov cocktail through the window.
Altogether, 17 homes and half a dozen shops in this village in West Bengal State were set aflame on Monday. Seven destroyed homes were owned by Hindus and 10 belonged to Muslims, according to interviews with about two dozen residents. Victims on both sides accused local leaders of two competing political parties of being involved in the attacks.
And now the state does not want anyone to talk about it.
The people of Bogakhali are the latest casualties of the violence, voter intimidation and sectarian politics that typically accompany Indian elections.
On Sunday, the final batch of India’s 900 million eligible voters, including those in Bogakhali, will cast ballots. That will bring to an end the nation’s six-week-long election to choose the lower house of Parliament and the prime minister. All the votes will be counted on Thursday.
Compared to previous years, these elections have been relatively peaceful. Since the voting officially began, one person has been killed, several candidates have been attacked, and supporters of various parties have clashed, according to local news reports. During the 2014 elections, 16 political workers were killed and more than 2,000 injured in poll-related violence, according to an analysis by India Today.
West Bengal, a sprawling state along India’s eastern border where political parties carry outsize power, has long led the country in electoral violence. Right now, it is also a leader in opposing Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party.
As Mr. Modi has struggled to deliver on his promise to create enough jobs for India’s young people, he has increasingly turned to his party’s roots in Hindu nationalism, pledging to give the religion’s precepts a greater role in government and civic life.
The B.J.P.’s supporters often chant the slogan “Jai Shri Ram,” which means “Hail, Lord Ram,” a homage to one of the most revered gods in the Hindu pantheon.
West Bengal’s governing party, the All-India Trinamool Congress, has strong support from Muslims, who make up more than one-fourth of the state’s population. The party’s leader and chief minister of the state, Mamata Banerjee, has been a sharp critic of Mr. Modi and his party’s rhetoric.
These simmering religious tensions transformed a dispute about broken electric equipment into a conflagration.
About 10 days ago, a transformer serving the village conked out. Last Saturday night, as the villagers pressed the electric utility for a faster replacement, the local T.M.C. leader, Ajan Shah Molla, a Muslim, got involved. He told the people they would have to wait a week in the sweltering heat for a new one.
The angry mob, which was mostly Hindu, began to beat Mr. Molla, according to several witnesses. Then the crowd forced him to chant, “Jai Shri Ram.”
The next day, Mr. Molla returned with a gang of men and blocked the main road through the village. In front of a large crowd, Dinesh Mondal, a B.J.P. leader and former T.M.C. official who lived in the village, confronted Mr. Molla and the two men exchanged heated words, according to Ms. Mondal and other witnesses. (The two Mondals are related.)
Shortly thereafter, several shops were destroyed and attackers ransacked the homes of Hindus in the village, including Ms. Mondal’s.
On Monday morning, Mr. Molla’s men returned and burned seven of the homes, as well as an ambulance and a car parked in front of Mr. Mondal’s building supplies shop, according to Ms. Mondal and two other Hindus who witnessed the attacks.
Muslim villagers were also attacked on Monday morning, according to interviews with about a dozen people in the community. Masked men, armed with swords and guns, burned six Muslim homes, said Sabur Ali Shekh, whose house was among those targeted. The men lingered in the area, shouting “Jai Shri Ram” and warning Muslim voters that if they did not vote for the B.J.P., they would be deported to Pakistan.
At sunset, when the Muslims were preparing their evening meal to end the day’s fasting for Ramadan, the men threw flaming bottles into four homes, destroying the sewing machines and supplies of the cloth makers inside. Several witnesses, including Meher Ali Shekh and his brother, both of whose homes were destroyed, said they saw Mr. Mondal watching from not far away.
Numerous attempts to contact Mr. Molla and Mr. Mondal this past week were unsuccessful. Village residents said they believed both men had fled the area.
The response to the attacks was swift — and somewhat unusual.
The police quickly arrested 32 people, almost all of them Muslim. A police official said that officers had been present during some of the attacks and several were injured, but he declined to provide more details.
Abhishek Banerjee, a nephew of Ms. Banerjee who represents the region in Parliament, visited the village and urged residents to remain calm. He promised them justice and new homes or compensation after the election results are announced next Thursday, according to people who listened to his remarks.
“We have identified those who are behind this incident,” he said, adding that he had an audio recording as proof. Later, T.M.C. officials urged the Muslims not to speak to any news outlets about what had occurred.
Photos and videos of the attacks on the Hindus slowly made their way to right-wing Facebook and Twitter users. Many of the posts were puffed up with false information, including claims that 60 Hindu homes had been burned and that hundreds of people had been ordered by Muslims to leave their homes. None of them mentioned what had led to the attacks, or that Muslims had also been victims.
News reports on the violence have been almost nonexistent. Two local officials begged journalists not to report the story, saying that it would disrupt the peace. A senior T.M.C. official initially claimed that no homes had been burned in Bogakhali and said there was nothing to see there. Confronted with evidence of the attacks, the official privately admitted that the party was worried about setting off more communal violence if word got out.
Mr. Modi, who campaigned on Wednesday in the district where the attacks occurred, did not mention them.
In an interview on Friday, Kailash Vijayvargiya, the B.J.P.’s campaign manager in the state, denied that Mr. Mondal had been involved in burning the Muslim homes.
“Hindus in that area are living in fear,” he said. “They couldn’t have even thought of doing something of this nature.”
Derek O’Brien, who leads the T.M.C.’s delegation in Parliament, said on Friday that the party had asked Facebook to remove inflammatory posts related to the incident.
“We want peace,” he said in an interview. “We’ve got 48 hours to go before the elections.”