Jaipur, India (PressExposure) April 17, 2009 -- New Delhi. Barring stray incidents of violence in naxal-affected areas of Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Orissa, polling began on a peaceful note for 124 Lok Sabha seats in 15 States and two Union territories with a moderate to brisk turnout of voters.
At least eleven people, mostly security personnel, were killed in Jharkhand and Bihar. Naxal attack reports were coming from Orissa too where several polling booths in the sensitive Malkangiri district were attacked and set ablaze by naxalites.
Polling began on a moderate note in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Northeast States, Uttar Pradesh and several other places.
In their bid to disrupt polling in Jharkhand, Maoists struck today killing at least nine people including seven BSF personnel and two civilians and injuring seven other jawans setting off a landmine explosion in Hesla forest area under Chandwa police station in Latehar.
In Gaya district of Bihar, Maoist guerillas went on a rampage, killing two policemen and injuring three, including a woman constable, in a daring attack on a polling booth under Aurangabad constituency in south Bihar.
According to police, despite the presence of adequate security personnel, a group of about 20 armed ultras raided polling booth number 244 at Sindupur village under Bankebazar police station, surrounded by forest, and shot dead one policeman and injured four others guarding the booth. Later, one policeman succumbed to his wounds.
As a result, polling remained suspended in the booth for sometime after the attack at around 0900 hrs.
Before fleeing, the extremists looted four rifles and several rounds of live cartridges from the security personnel.
They also decamped with Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) from the booth resulting in the suspension of polling.
In Orissa, polling was repoprted peaceful in many ares barring Malkangiri district, where the extremists attacked the polling booths and burnt the EVM machines.
Polling was also reported peaceful in the strife-torn Kandhmal district, where the authorities had taken extra precautions and deployed nearly 19 companies of para-military forces and two companies of the rapid action force to ensure free and fair poll.
Official sources said except in Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada and Nabarangpur districts, where the voters got panicky following the naxalite poll boycott threat, polling had picked up in rest of the districts in Southern and Western Orissa, where the voters were seen lined up before the polling booths.
Notwithstanding the naxalite threat, people in a large number in Kandhmal had arrived at the polling booths to cast their ballots.