Landmine blast kills one BSF jawan; 80 per cent polling in Panchayat

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Kolkata, May 11 (UNI) At least one Border Security Force (BSF) personnel was killed and eleven injured, five of them critically, in a landmine blast by the Maoists near Bandowan in Purulia, even as an estimated 80 per cent polling was recorded in the first phase Panchayat election in five districts today.

Official sources said the landmine, planted by the Maoists, went off at around 1830 hours when a vehicle carrying the BSF jawans accompanying polling personnel was heading towards Maoist-dominated Bandowan from Gangarampur.

Though the vehicle of the polling personnel had a narrow escape, the vehicle carrying BSF jawans, however, could not avert the landmine.

While one BSF personnel died on the spot, eleven sustained injuries and were rushed to Primary Health Centre, where the condition of five was stated to be critical.

A posse of police force had rushed to the site and launched a massive combing operation to flush out the Maoists, sources added.

Meanwhile, an estimated 80 per cent turnout had been registered till the filing of this report as polling was still continuing in several booths even after the scheduled time, sources informed.

Reports from East Midnapore informed that at least 20 people were injured in clashes between the CPI(M) and Trinamool Congress supporters at Bhajachauli village under Contai block, several others were injured in Arati village under Faridpur panchayat block of Durgapur after police resorted to lathicharge to disperse clashing workers.

SDO Durgapur R N Basurai Chaudhuri said due to clashes between rival parties at Arati village, polling had been briefly interrupted, but denied that anyone being injured in the area or police using lathicharged to disperse the mob.

In Nandigram, polling was stopped as the CPI(M) activists stopped voters from exercsing their franchise to protest the alleged assault of two of their women activists by CRPF DIG Alok Raj.

CPI(M) MP Lakhman Seth had filed an FIR against the DIG and charged him with assaulting two women.

However, Mr Raj denied the allegations as baseless and termed these as ''nothing more than attempts to put pressure on me''. He further added that he would sue the former for defamation after the elections were over.

Mr Raj also got involved in an argument over phone with CPI(M) Lok Sabha member Laxman Seth, who had allegedly tried to direct the movement of the Central police officer.

Mr Seth accused Mr Raj of going beyond his purview while supervising security during the polling.

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