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Wednesday 22 January 2020

Jharkhand INC candidate wields gun; Maoists blow up bridge

Jharkhand Assembly poll: INC candidate KN Tripathi wields a gun near a booth in Palamu while Naxals blow up the Ghaghra-Kaththokwa bridge

On the day of the first phase of voting for the Jharkhand Assembly election on 30 November, fierce commotion was reported from a booth of Koshira village in Palamu, Jharkhand, where workers of the INC and BJP clashed with one another. When INC candidate KN Tripathi was trying to enter the booth, BJP supporters stopped him. The INC workers behind Tripathi came forward and challenged the BJP workers. After a heated exchange, ​​Tripathi drew his pistol.

Police have taken Tripathi into custody in Daltonganj and confiscated his pistol. Tripathi was waving this pistol at people outside the polling station. The police are now investigating whether the INC candidate is a bona fide owner of the pistol. After interrogating Tripathi for an hour, they let him go.

A large crowd of voters is seen at the Sahore polling station of Kanhachatti block of Chatra district, which is believed to be a stronghold of Naxals (Maoists). This is the polling station where polling personnel have been sent by helicopter from the district administration for security.

Until a few years ago, no one could visit the place to vote out of fear of Naxal violence. But this time, the voters are walking for 10 km from inaccessible and hilly areas and coming to this polling station and exercising their franchise.

Bumper voting is taking place in Naxal-affected areas of Jharkhand. In Maoist-affected Chatra, until 1 o’clock, 46.21% voting was over. Gumla saw 41.90% voting whereas polling was recorded at 41.39% in Vishunpur, 52.14% in Latehar and 45.40% in Daltonganj.

The Maoists could not be fully neutralised, though. A Naxalite attack has taken place in Bishunpur block of Gumla district of Jharkhand. The Maoists blew up the bridge from Ghaghra to Kaththokwa this morning. However, no one has taken responsibility officially for this attack so far.

Today, on 30 November, 13 Assembly seats of the State, namely Latehar, Garhwa, Palamu, Gumla, Lohardaga and Chatra districts are voting. All these districts are considered Naxal-affected areas.

Additional Director General of Police and Nodal Officer of the security system in Jharkhand election Murarilal Meena said that despite this blast near a culvert in the forest between Banalat and Veeranpur in Bishunpur, no casualty has been reported. Meena said that polling is going on peacefully in all the 13 Assembly constituencies and no untoward incident is reported from anywhere else.

On the other hand, when the bridge was blown up by Naxalites, Gumla SP Anjani Kumar Jha had said that an unsuccessful attempt had been made to disrupt voting. The bridge is moderately damaged.

Jha said that the police were making efforts to siege the Naxalites by sending additional police force from the surrounding areas.

Meanwhile, the election continues smoothly. There is no atmosphere of any kind of fear. He assured that this “festival of democracy” would not be allowed to be interrupted under any circumstances.

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