Over 35 pc voting in 12 naxal-infested assembly constituencies

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Raipur, Nov 14 (UNI) Voting in 12 naxal-affected assembly constituencies in the Bastar division ended at 1500 hrs with about 35 per cent electorates exercising their franchise amid sporadic incidents of violence by Maoists naxalites 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 constituencies have been disrupted where recommendation for repolling would be made to the Election Commission.

Senior officials said people participated in big way in polling in naxalite-affected region thus refusing to budge on the poll boycott call given by Maoists.

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

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

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

Naxals triggered an improvised explosive device in Gorkha village under Bhejji police station area in Bastar district injuring three security personnel seriously and helicopter was requisitioned to evacuate them.

In Bhusarat area, a four kg land mine was recovered near a booth and seven people had been arrested in that connection.

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

Reports are also about gun battle between Maoists and security forces in Bastar region of Chhattisgarh.

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.

(EDS:Pick up suitably from earlier series) UNI MB PS 1638

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