Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Maoists block roads in Orissa, call for poll boycott

Bhubaneswar (IANS): Maoists on Wednesday felled trees, dug up roads in three districts of Orissa to create hurdles for the poll officials in the run-up to the first phase of elections on Thursday, police said. The Maoists have called for a complete boycott of the polls.

Police said the road communication was disrupted in the interior pockets of Koraput, Malkangiri and Rayagada districts in southern part of the state.

"Most of the roads blocked by the rebels have been cleared," Inspector General of Police Arun Sarangi told IANS.

Sarangi said at least 100,000 central and state forces personnel have been deployed across the state. These include 49 companies of paramilitary forces, 69 companies of state armed battalions and 40,000 state policemen.

"As the rebels have called for a boycott of the poll, special security arrangements have been made in Naxal affected areas," he said.

The Maoists have stepped up attacks in the past few weeks. The rebels last week killed Somnath Madkami, the Samrudha Odisha party's candidate for the Malkangiri assembly seat. They also blew up several mobile towers in the same district.

Malkangiri Superintendent of Police Satyabrata Bhoi said, "We are sending polling teams to the troubled areas by chopper." Malkangiri is considered as a Maoist-stronghold.

The rebels are active in more than half of state's 30 districts.

The state goes to a two-phase polls to elect 121-member state assembly and 21 members to the Lok Sabha April 16 and 23.

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