Over 35 pc voting in 12 naxal-infested Assembly seats

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Raipur, Nov 14 (UNI) Voting in 12 naxal-affected Assembly seats in the Bastar division ended here at 1500 hrs with about 35 per cent of the electorate exercising their franchise amid sporadic incidents of violence by Maoists in which three security men were injured and four polling personnel were kidnapped.

According to sources, polling in at least 17 booths of the 12 Assembly seats was disrupted where recommendation for re-polling would be made to the Election Commission.

Senior officials said people participated in a big way in polling in the naxalite-affected region thus rebuffing the poll boycott call given by Maoists.

''Voting percentage might increase, as people were still standing in queues at several booths,'' the official maintained.

Four polling personnel were kidnapped from Chitalngar polling booth in Konta assembly seat in Dantewada district. Police were in search of the kidnapped personnel.

Reports of looting of EVMs have been received from Hardarada, Kidliras in Dantewada assembly seat, Arulai, Bogapalli, Michnar, Bordem and Gorkha in Konta assembly seat and Hagua, Kudur, Turmal in Bastar seat. Repolling will be held in all these polling booths.

Naxals triggered an improvised explosive device in Gorkha village of Bhejji police station in Jagdalpur district injuring three security personnel seriously and helicopters were requisitioned to evacuate them.

In Bhusarat area, a four kg landmine was recovered from near a booth and seven people have been arrested in this connection.

Paramilitary forces and Maoists were reportedly locked in fierce gun battles in Nichwar and Kamaram areas of Dantewada district. Maoists also opened indiscriminate firing disrupting polling in Kudur and Hangwa booths of the Dantewada district.

Reports have also been received of gun battle between Maoists and security forces in Bastar region of the state.

According to the state election office, an estimated 17 per cent polling was recorded in Bijapur till 1400 hrs, 28 per cent in Kanker, 55 per cent Bastar, 50 per cent each in Dantewada and Narayanpur.

UNI MB PS AKJ BD1645

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