Naxal Terror in Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Orissa on the first day of Election 2009
Hours before Naxalites raided the NALCO bauxite mine in Koraput in Orissa and killed 11 CISF men — security forces combing the area have come across five bodies of Naxalites, one with bombs strapped to the waist, nabbed four and recovered over 500 kg of explosives and looted arms from an abandoned van — a helicopter carrying CRPF Director General A S Gill was fired at by Naxalites in Chhattisgarh.
The incident occurred on Sunday morning in Dantewada as Gill and other officials were landing in a village. The state government helicopter was fired at but no damage was caused and it landed safely. Gill's visit to Chhattisgarh followed Friday's Naxal attack in which nine CRPF personnel, including a Deputy Commandant, were killed.
Naxalites have carried out three back-to-back attacks in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Orissa in the last few days, killing CRPF and CISF personnel. One of the three Naxalites killed in Chhattisgarh was carrying an AK-47 rifle which is usually issued to top commanders. The three killed were said to be from Andhra Pradesh.
Ranchi/Latehar/Gaya: Stepping up their attacks, Maoists struck in Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Orissa, killing 17 people, including five election officials and ten security personnel, and looted electronic voting machines in a bid to disrupt the first phase of polling for Lok Sabha.
Naxalites blew up a vehicle carrying poll officials in Chhattisgarh's Rajnandgaon district, killing five of them and injuring two others, police said.
They attacked polling booths and exchanged fire with security forces in Dandewada and Narainpur areas in the state, they said, adding that one CRPF jawan died of bullet wounds and five others were injured in Maruki in Dandewada, about 350 kms from Raipur.
Casualty among the ultras was not known.
The naxals struck at Mangnar and Jangampal in Dantewada district and in Nernar, Sonapal and Karmari in Narainpur region, around 250 kms from the Chhattisgarh capital, Additional Director General of Police Girdhari Nayak said.
A day after attacking CRPF, the Maoists targeted a bus carrying BSF personnel in Jharkhand's Latehar area by triggering a landmine blast at around 7.30 AM leading to the death of seven personnel from the border force besides the civilian driver and helper, and injuries to several others.
Deputy Commissioner Sarvendu Tathagat in Latehar, about 125 kms from Ranchi, said the BSF personnel were returning from Ladhup to Arah after having carried of patrolling duty in naxal strongholds. A helicopter has flown to the spot for rescue operations, he said.
A homeguard and a police personnel on poll duty were shot dead and another injured by naxals in Singhpur village under Bankebazaar police station in Bihar's Gaya district, police said. Two other police personnel were missing. Maoists set afire at least three polling booths, destroying electronic voting machines and other poll material in Orissa's Malkangiri district. Polling was disrupted in the area.
The ultras, who have given a call for poll boycott, struck at Andrahal in Chitrakonda area setting ablaze a vehicle on election duty and two EVMs after tying the hands of poll officials, Malkangiri district collector Nitin Bhanudas Jawle said. As a result, polling could not be held in the booth, he said.
Two polling booths were set ablaze by the Maoists in Salimarikonda and MV-73 in Kalimela police station area, Superintendent of Police Satyabrata Bhoi said, adding the EVMs in the booths were also set afire by the ultras.
The Maoists also blocked roads in Mathili area of the district by felling trees and placing boulders preventing movement of polling officials as well as voters.
Due to Maoist threat, not a single vote was cast in Badigata polling station in Kalimela area during the first two hours of voting with people failing to turn up.
Polling remained very low elsewhere in the district, particularly in areas covering Chitrakonda and Malkangiri assembly constituencies, Jawle said.
Belying the tall claims of the state administration and the Election Commission that they were fully prepared to conduct elections even in the Naxal strongholds where the ultras have given a call to boycott the polls in Bihar and Jharkhand, around 100-armed extremists owing allegiance to the MCCI attacked a BSF camp located in a government school building at Dhansa under Bihar's Rohtas district at around midnight on Monday barely 30 hours before the polling was scheduled in that area.
One BSF jawan was injured in the incident but he has been declared out of danger by the doctors treating him at Patna.
In quick succession, the ultras also attacked a CRPF party at Barwadih under Jharkhand's Latehar district early in the morning on Wednesday first by causing a mine blast (IED) and then an ambush. CRPF IG Alok Raj told The Tribune that one of his jawans, Dharmendra Yadav was killed and 10 other jawans were injured in the encounter with the Naxals and the driver of the bus provided by the district administration to transport the CRPF jawans also died in the incident. The injured CRPF men were airlifted to Ranchi and admitted to a private hospital for better treatment, said Alok Raj. On their part, the CRPF men had also killed five naxals during the encounter and their bodies had been recovered from the spot, he informed.
According to him the jawans of 14th Battalion (ULFA company) deployed for poll duty were on their way to Morwai from Barwadih (Latehar) when the bus carrying them came under mine attack near Mahuatand valley. Subsequently, a fierce gun battle ensued between the armed Naxals and the security forces. Regarding the attack on the BSF in Bihar, Patna zone IG Sunil Kumar said one company of the BSF (around 75 men) deployed for poll duty had been stationed at a school building which was surrounded by hillocks and forest cover (around 20 km away from the district headquarters).
The gun battle between the BSF and the armed squad of Peoples Guerilla Army carrying automatic weapons continued for hours during which the ultras also used Rocket Launcher causing extensive damage to the school building. One BSF Jawan injured in the incident.
The SP of Rohtas had launched a combing operation in the area with additional reinforcements. The IG further informed that the police with the help of the BSF jawans had been carrying out intensive raids in that area for the past few days and they had also demolished a deserted training camp of the Naxals located atop the hilltop.
Bihar's Principal Secretary (Home) Afzal Amanullah said on the basis of Rohtas district administration's request, a proposal had been sent to the Election Commission for postponing the polling in 11 booths under the Chenari Assembly segment of Sasaram Lok sabha constituency for a couple of days. The Rohtas administration wants to conduct the polls on these booths considered to be a bastion of the Naxals on April 19 by deploying the paramilitary force on a larger scale.
The administration's apprehension is that the Naxals could attack one full company of the BSF, they might create bigger problems if the polling was held with just one section of the CPMF on every booth. However, the Election Commission was yet to take a decision.
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