Sunday, November 28, 2010

Maoists blow up ambulance, five killed

November 28, 2010 6:33:50

IANS | Bhubaneswar

Five people, including two women and a child, were killed when Maoists blew up the ambulance they were travelling in in Orissa's Kandhamal district, police said Sunday.

The landmine blast took place Saturday night in a hilly and forested area near Brahmanigaon, some 350 km from here.

The ambulance was on a culvert when it was blasted off. The victims were on way to their home near Brahmanigaon after admitting a pregnant woman in a government hospital in neighbouring Ganjam district.

"Two women, a three-year-old girl and two men, including the driver, were killed," Superintendent of Police S. Praveen Kumar told IANS.

One of the dead women was a health worker, he said.

"The explosion was so powerful that it created a large hole on the road," he said, adding that the bodies have been taken for autopsy.

The latest attack comes after the Maoists killed a contractor in the area Thursday.

Kandhamal witnessed widespread violence after the murders of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides at his ashram Aug 23, 2008.

At least 38 people were killed and over 25,000 Christians were forced to flee their homes after their houses were attacked by mobs that held Christians responsible for Saraswati's killing, although the police blamed the Maoists.

Maoists blow up Jharkhand panchayat building

Ranchi: Maoist guerrillas blew up a panchayat building in Jharkhand's Latehar district as the state holds its first panchayat polls, police said on Sunday.

According to the police, 15 to 20 Maoists raided Khura village in Latehar, some 140 km from here, late Saturday night and blew up a panchayat building using detonators and explosives.

No one was injured in the incident.

The first phase of the five-phase panchayat polls took place in Jharkhand Saturday that saw 64 percent balloting.

In a separate incident, police recovered two landmines from Khapia village in Latehar district.

The last panchayat elections were held in 1979 when Jharkhand was part of Bihar. The subsequent polls could not be held in Jharkhand due to a legal battle over reservation to tribal people in scheduled areas (notified tribal areas).

In the absence of elected panchayats, the state loses out on over Rs.300-400 crore annually in central assistance, which are provided to these local governments directly.

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