Friday, April 24, 2009

Maoists attack poll party, 1 dead

GAUTAM SARKAR
Dumka, April 24: Maoist rebels killed a chowkidar accompanying a polling party at Kathikund in Dumka last evening. Four others, two polling officials, a driver and a constable, were injured.

In another incident, the Naxalites fled away with EVMs from a booth at a middle school at Rajavita in Sundarpahari block.

The first incident occurred when the polling officials were returning after conducting the elections at booth No. 38 at a primary school in Joraam, some 22km from the Kathikund block headquarters and 43km from the Dumka district headquarters. Paramilitary forces recovered the body of Harilal Mirdha, 45, a native of Sharshabad who was posted at Kathikund police station, from the forests last night.

The injured have been identified as Pawan Kesri, an employee of State Bank of India, Dumka, Augustin Hansdak, a schoolteacher of Massaliaya, Satish Rajak, a constable from Koderma armed police force and Nazir Hussain, the driver of the vehicle. Civil surgeon Dumka S.N. Jha said the four were out of danger.

Kesri, who was deputed as the micro-observer at the booth, said the incident took place around 4.45pm. “We were travelling in a dumper and were about 200 yards from the polling station when some men started firing indiscriminately at us,” Kesri said. He had sustained bullet injuries on his hand.

Dumka Superintendent of police Arun Kumar Singh said: “We had set up security camps at 12 Naxalite pockets. But the Maoists took advantage of the topography of the region to strike.” However, Satish alleged that when the Naxalites attacked them, some policemen escaped while the BSF jawans remained mute spectators.

In the other incident, Maoists raided booth No 63 at Rajavita. Although there were no casualties, the rebels managed to loot EVMs. Polling official Debol Ravidas alleged that there not adequate security at the booth.

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