Fearing Maoist violence, Bihar seeks four IAF choppers

March 26th, 2009 - 1:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, March 26 (IANS) Bihar has sought four Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters from the central government for aerial surveillance, particlarly in areas hit by Maoist insurgency, during the Lok Sabha elections in April-May.
“The government has sought four helicopters from the centre for aerial surveillance in Maoist affected districts during the polls,” said an official in the state home department.

The state will deploy three choppers during the first phase of the polls to 13 Lok Sabha seats April 16, and one chopper will be kept on standby. Most Maoist insurgency hit areas will see elections in the first phase.

These include the Magadh division, comprising Gaya, Aurangabad, Jehanabad, Arwal, Nawada, Sasaram, the Tirhut division made up of Saran, Siwan, Gopalganj and Maharajganj, as well as the Ara district.

Maoists, who have called for a boycott of the general elections, have a strong presence in the rural areas of these seats.

“The threat of violence looms large over the polls in Bihar again, as the Maoists have opposed the elections,” said a police official.

In the 1999 Lok Sabha polls, 74 people were killed. About 20 people were killed in the 2004 general elections and the toll was a staggering 158 during the 2001 panchayat elections.

Bihar will hold the parliamentary elections over four phases on April 16, 23, 30 and May 7.

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