Polling ends in naxal-affected areas of AP, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand

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Ranchi, Bhubaneshwar/Raipur/Hyderabad, Apr 16 (ANI): Polling for the first phase of Lok Sabha elections ended in the naxal-hit areas of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa at 3 pm.

Chhattisgarh recorded only 25 percent voting till 1:00 pm, while around 28.5 percent of voters exercised their franchise in Jharkhand till noon.

Orissa witnessed around 40 percent of voting till 1.30 pm as compared to the 25.67 percent of voting in Andhra Pradesh in the first four hours.

Earlier, four Naxal-related attacks have surfaced in five states - Jharkhand, Orissa, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra, adding to the ten already reported earlier in the day.

News reports said Naxals had exploded a landmine in Jamui District, attacked polling booths in Rajanandgaon District in Maharashtra in which five persons have died, attacked a polling party in Bast and were engaged in an encounter with paramilitaries in the Koriari Forests of Bihar. All of these attacks disrupted the first phase of the five-phased general elections on Thursday.

At least 16 people were killed, including nine security personnel and two civilians in Jharkhand and Bihar.

According to M L Kumawat, Director General, Border Security Force (BSF) Thursday's was the most violent series of attacks by the rebels.

The first attack took place in Jharkhand's Latehar District, in which nine people including seven BSF personnel were killed.

According to police, the Maoists detonated a landmine under a bus that was ferrying BSF personnel to a polling station near Aara village, about 140 km from Ranch. Later, the Maoists ambushed the BSF bus.

The driver of the vehicle and the attendant, too, were killed in the attack and seven others including polling staff and security personnel are reportedly injured.

According to reports, four poll officers have been kidnapped in Latehar.

In another strike, two home guards were killed when Naxals attacked a police patrol party in Bihar's Gaya district. Six people, including two women were injured in the attack.

The attackers also looted four police rifles and Electronic Voting Machines.

In Chhattisgarh, the Naxals attacked polling booths in Bijapur and Dantewada districts. Two polling parties were forced to return from Jagampal village in Bijapur District.

In South Bastar, the Naxals targeted Central Reserve Police Force (CPRF) personnel deployed in Dantewada.

According to reports, blasts also took place at polling booths in Gotabanur and Narayanpur.n Orissa, Maoists attacked three polling booths in Andrahill village and set fire to voting machines and a vehicle in Malkangiri district.

In Maharashtra, a police base camp was attacked at Binagundha in Maharashtra's Gadchiroli District.

The Maoists have called for a complete boycott of the polls in the state. (ANI)

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