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Naxals attack booths, forces during panchayat poll

Naxals went on rampage during the first phase of panchayat polls in Chhattisgarh on Wednesday as they looted ballot boxes at several polling stations in insurgency- hit Bastar division but no causality has been reported.

"Naxals tried to disrupt polling at several places in Bastar by looting ballot boxes and firing at polling staff and security personnel," Inspector General of Police (Intelligence wing), Deepanshu Kabra, told PTI.

Ballot boxes and polling materials were looted from polling booth number 22, 23, 24 at Hamirgarh village under Tongpal police station limits in Sukma district.

Similarly, ballot boxes were also looted from polling booth no. 27, 28, 29 and 30 at Kunna village under Kukanar Police Station limits and from polling booth no. 48 in Dudhiuras village under Gadiras Police Station of Sukma district, Kabra said.

In Kanker district, naxals had looted ballot boxes in Gudabeda village last night, the senior officer said.

Besides, naxal fired at polling party near Kesokodi village under Kaoyalibeda Police Station in Kanker. They fled into the core forest after security personnel retaliated, he said.

"No injury or causality was reported in the incident. Soon after getting the information (of the incidents), reinforcement was rushed to the spots," he added.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Election Commission I R Dehari informed that polling has started in insurgency-hit Dantewada, Sukma and Bijapur districts and Jagdalpur, Lohandiguda, Bastanar and Darbha blocks in Bastar district, Antagarh, Kayalibeda, Bhanupratappur and Durgkondal blocks in Kanker from 6:45 AM and will conclude at 2 PM.
The first phase of the four-phased panchayat polls in the state will elect 145 Zila Panchayat members, 1,134 Janpad Panchayat members, 4,163 sarpanch and 36,745 panch.

In Bastar, naxals had threatened villagers to either support their candidate or boycott the poll, eyeing to rebuild their base in the panchayat elections.

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