Fourteen persons, including security men of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and polling officials, were killed in Maoist attacks in the Bastar area of Chhattisgarh state on 12 April, in the fourth phase of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.
The violence claimed seven election duty officials, five CRPF men and two ambulance staff, while 10 others were injured. The outlaws killed the victims in two incidents.
In the first incident, about a 100-member Maoist troop armed with lethal weapons blew up a landmine, targeting a bus carrying the victims and ambushed it by showering bullets in the Bijapur district. Seven poll duty officials were killed and five others injured in the ambush. They were returning to the district headquarters after their poll duty. When the state security men got into retaliation, the outlaws fled the scene, media reports say quoting officials.
In the second incident, in less than an hour, an ambulance carrying CRPF personnel was blown up by the Maoists at the Kamalnar village near Darbha police station limits of Jagdalpur district, about 350km from Raipur, the state capital. Five CRPF troopers were killed and five others were injured in the incident.
CRPF Inspector MK Roy, Assistant Sub-Inspector Kanti Bhai, Head Constable Dinesh and driver Vasu Sethi are among the deceased. The injured have been admitted to hospitals.
Reports say that the election officials were advised not to board any vehicles but to go on foot in the Maoist-infested area. But after the hectic poll duty, the tired staff had boarded the bus.
Some electronic voting machines (EVMs) were damaged in the attacks. Re-election will be held if the EVMs are found damaged in the attacks, said the state's Chief Electoral Officer Sunil Kujur.
The attacks reflect the Maoists' frustration at the peaceful polls in Bastar area, said RK Vij, Additional Director General of Police-Anti-Maoist Operation.