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Naxals attempt to disrupt polling in Jharkhand

Source: PTI
April 23, 2009 13:24 IST
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In fresh attacks, Maoists on Thursday exploded bombs injuring two officials in Jharkhand, where security forces repulsed a Naxalite bid to disrupt the second phase of elections after a fierce hour-long gunbattle.

An executive magistrate and a constable were wounded when Maoists lobbed a bomb at their vehicle near Dadi-Srirampur village in Giridh district in Jharkhand, where elections were being held in eight Lok Sabha constituencies today, police sources said. They were going to their assigned polling station in the district, about 200 kms from Ranchi, they said.

The security forces repulsed a Naxalite bid to disrupt polling in Bansdera in East Singhbhum, 165 kms from the Jharkhand capital, after a fierce hour-long gunbattle with the ultras, Inspector General of Police S N Pradhan said in Ranchi.

"An encounter took place at Bansdra under Ghatshila sub-division and a strong response from the Central Reserve Police Force and the police forced the Naxalites to retreat," he said, adding that a helicopter surveillance of the area was undertaken and combing operations were on.

Maoists had on Wednesdat seized a train carrying nearly 700 passengers in Jharkhand's Latehar district for over four hours, bombed a Block Development Officer's office and shot dead a driver after setting ablaze trucks in Bihar. Suspected Naxalites had also killed three Communist Party of India – Marxist workers in West Bengal.

Maoists had struck in a big way during the first phase of elections on April 16, killing 19 people across three states, including seven Border Security Force personnel and two others in Jharkhand. The Naxalites torched electronic voting machines at four booths in the Singhbhum constituency, 200 kms from Ranchi, leading to the cancellation of voting, Returning Officer Sunil Kumar said.

"The polling was cancelled at booth numbers 5, 6, 7 and 8 at Jompai in Sonua block constituency," Kumar said. In another incident, a separate group of suspected Maoists burnt down two dumpers, two vehicles of polling officials and a motor-bike at Jompai, the officer said.

Naxalites on Wednesday night blew up a railway station building and tracks near Medininagar in Palamau district, 150 kms from Ranchi, disrupting train services, Deputy Commissioner in Medininagar Amitabh Kaushal said.

"The ultras blasted the Chianki station building, about ten km from Medininagar, and exploded bombs damaging tracks in the area", he said. Polling for the Palamau Lok Sabha seat took place on April 16.

The railway teams from Barwadih and Dhanbad were on their way to the spot to repair the tracks. The Maoists had also detonated a landmine in the Saranda forest in West Singhbhum district on Wednesday night.

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