Violence during Manipur polls, five killed

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Manipur Elections
Imphal, Jan 29: At least five people including a woman and a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel have been killed in election related violence in Manipur. The violence took place in Chandel district of Manipur during polling on Saturday. The dead also included two civilians and one polling officer.

According to eyewitnesses some militants tried to capture a booth and fired at the CRPF personnel present there. One of the CRPF personnel was killed when a militant fired him from a very close range.

The violence took place even as security was tightened across all polling stations, especially a day after the blast outside a government official's house. Several other small incidents of violence have been reported from the state.

In Senpati district some National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) cadres were reportedly threatening voters near some polling booths.

Two CRPF personnel on poll duty were killed in an ambush by militants in Ukhrul district on Friday.

Bombs suspected to have been planted by militants were seized and defused before the start of polling in Khurai Chingangbam area, Sawombung High School, Khomidok in Imphal East district and Naoremthong High School area in Imphal West district.

A helicopter has been kept on standby for any emergency situation while para-military forces have been deployed at polling stations.

Chief electoral officer PC Lawkunga said that 48 per cent of the 17.40 lakh electorate cast their votes across nine districts - Imphal East, Imphal West, Bishnnupur and Thoubal - in the valley and Churachandpur, Ukhrul, Senapati, Tamenglong and Chandel in the hills till 2 PM.

There were long queues before many polling booths across the valley districts of Imphal East, Imphal West, Thoubal and Bishenpur. Polling at some booths in some interior hill districts was low because of cold.

Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh cast his vote at a polling station in Khangabok in Thoubal district.

Altogether 279 candidates are in the fray for the 60-member House with the Chief Minister (Thoubal), Forest minister and senior Congress leader Th Debendra (Jiribam) and Congress nominee and Speaker I Hemochandra Singh (Shingjamei) being the key contenders.

Others in the fray are former chief minister and NCP chief Radhabinod Koijam (Thangmeiband), senior Manipur people's party (MPP) leader and former deputy chief minister L Chandramani Singh (Patsoi), senior MPP leader and opposition leader O Joy (Langthabal), MPP president and former minister Nimaichand Luwang (Wangkhem) besides deputy chairman of the state Planning Board Bijoy Koijam (Thongju).

PTI

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