Maoists Kill Poll Panel Official In Odisha Ahead Of Second Phase Of Polls

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The incident occurred in Phulbani assembly segment under Kandhamal Lok Sabha seat (Representational)

Phulbani, Odisha:

Maoists struck on the eve of second phase election in Odisha, gunning down a woman poll officer and setting ablaze a poll vehicle on way to their booths on Wednesday, police said.

Both the incidents occurred in Maoist-affected Kandhamal district where they have asked people to boycott the elections.

The Maoists gunned down a woman polling officer when she was taking a team of poll personnel to a booth on the eve of second phase election, police said.

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Sector Officer Sanjukta Digal was shot dead when she got down from the vehicle to check a suspicious object lying on the road while passing through a jungle near Balandapada village under Gochhapada police station limits, DGP BK Sharma told PTI.

Deeply anguished by the sad demise of polling supervisor Sanjukta Digal in Maoist attack in Kandhamal district of #Odisha on her way to polling booth. Heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family and prayer for the departed soul.

– Naveen Patnaik (@Naveen_Odisha) April 17, 2019

Other four polling personnel were in the vehicle and were unhurt.

The incident occurred in Phulbani assembly segment under Kandhamal Lok Sabha seat where polling is scheduled to begin at 7 am on Thursday.

In the other incident, the Maoists set on fire a vehicle carrying election officials to a polling booth in a village in remote Phiringia police station area.

Kandhamal district collector cum returning officer D Brunda said the initial report in this regard said armed Maoists in uniform asked the officials to get down from the vehicle before they set fire to it.

Police said all the officials are safe but it was not clear what happened to poll materials like the EVMs.

Police suspect that the KKBN (Kalahandi-Kandhamal-Boudh-Nayagarh) division of the CPI (Maoist) was involved in both the incidents.

A few days ago, Maoists put up posters and banners in the district asking the people to boycott the polls.

Keeping in view the Maoist presence in Kandhanal district, the Election Commission has limited the polling time from 7 am to 4 pm in seven assembly segments in it.

Polling is being held for Lok Sabha and assembly constituencies simultaneously in the state.

While the first phase voting was held on April 11, there are three more phases on April 18, 23 and 29.

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