Maoist violence again in round two of Jharkhand polls (Second Lead)

April 23rd, 2009 - 12:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Ranchi, April 23 (IANS) Maoist guerrillas Thursday unleashed a wave of violence in Jharkhand as voting began for eight of the 14 Lok Sabha seats, triggering landmine blasts near polling booths, attacking a paramilitary camp and blowing up a railway station.
Several people were injured in the attacks that spread out in many parts of the state and included intermittent gunbattles that continued for hours in the forested areas of Jamshedpur and Giridih.

Giving details of the violence, police said three people, including two officials going to polling booths for the second and last phase of the parliamentary elections, were injured in a landmine blast triggered by Maoist rebels in Kalamajo village of Giridih district.

Police said the Maoist rebels, who have called for a poll boycott, also triggered an explosion on the road between Giridih and Dumri and cut trees to block it early Thursday.

No one was injured in the second landmine blast near the Bato polling booth of Jamshedpur.

Dramatic scenes were also played out in nearby Ghatshila forest of Jamshedpur district where police used helicopters against the rebels who were exchanging gunfire with security personnel.

Earlier in the morning, Maoist rebels attacked a camp of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in West Singhbhum district, where a gunbattle between the militants and security personnel continued.

Late Wednesday, the guerrillas blew up the Chiyanki railway station in Palamau district and bombed the outer cabin of the complex. The cabin man and porter have been missing since the attack, officials said.

The violence came after cadres of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) hijacked a passenger train in Latehar district Wednesday before releasing it fours later.

Of the eight Lok Sabha seats where polling was underway since 7 a.m. and will continue till 3 p.m. - an hour ahead of schedule - four each are held by the Congress and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM).

Of the 164 candidates - whose fate will be decided by an electorate of 10.9 million - the most high profile are the three former chief ministers Arjun Munda, Madhu Koda and Shibu Soren as well as central Food Processing Minister Subodh Kanat Sahay.

Munda, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate, is fighting from Jamshedpur. Koda is fighting as an independent in Singhbhum and is locked in triangular fight with the Congress and JMM. Soren is fighting from the Lok Sabha poll from Dumka along with the Jamatara assembly by-election.

Sahay is in a direct fight with BJP candiaite Ram Tahal Chaudhary in Ranchi.

Dhanbad has both highest number of contestants and voters. There are 32 candidates and 1.7 million electorate.

In the first phase of polling April 16, nine people, including six Border Security Force (BSF) personnel, were killed in Maoist violence.

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