ibnlive » Politics

Apr 17, 2009 at 12:57pm IST

Naxal violence disrupts first phase polling

New Delhi: The first phase of polling was marked by Naxal violence in the Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar and Orissa.

The red menace made a mockery of security arrangements along the red corridor in spite of heavy patrolling by the CRPF, BSF and the state police.

They blew up election vehicles, set voting machines on fire and attacked voters.

It was apparent that the Naxals had clearly planned to disrupt the polls.

The Naxalites struck early. An attack in Jharkhand's Latehar leaving seven securitymen dead and several others injured and a land mine was found in Yashwant Sinha's constituency Hazaribagh.

In Chattisgarh, Naxals looted voting machines in Dantewada district, setting four of them ablaze along with an election vehicle. The Naxals opened fire at polling booths in Bijapur, planted bombs in Narayanpur and blew up two cars of zonal officers in Rajnandgaon.

But it wasn't just the more remote areas – even Gaya in Bihar was attacked, leaving two Home Guard Jawans dead and 6 people injured, police rifles and EVMs looted and a day-long encounter in Maharajganj.

In the south east – voting had to be stopped in three polling station in Orissa’s Malkangiri after the Maoists burnt down two of them and took away the EVMs.

The election commission hoped that the worse was over

Election commissioner S Y Qureshi said, “This phase was supposed to be the most difficult. We made sure the Naxal infested region was in the first phase so that longer period can be given for forces to mobilise.

But with more Naxal affected areas gearing up for polls, this may not be the end of Naxal terror this election.