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13 dead: Assembly election
violence in Bihar, Jharkhand

What is India News Service, Friday, 4 February 2005, 1400 hrs IST

Thirteen persons were killed in incidents of sporadic violence in the first phase of Assembly elections in Bihar, Haryana and Jharkhand today. While six persons, including two women, were killed in Bihar, six policemen were killed in a landmine blast in Jharkhand. 

The Deputy Election Commissioner, A.N. Jha, told reporters here that polling was held for all the 90 Assembly seats in Haryana, 64 of the 243 seats in Bihar and 24 of the 81 seats in Jharkhand. While Haryana recorded a turnout of 65 per cent, it was between 52 and 55 per cent in Bihar and around 45 per cent in Jharkhand. 

In Jharkhand, five District Armed Police personnel, the station in-charge in Palamu district (under Chattarpur police station) and their civilian driver were killed when suspected Maoists triggered a landmine explosion early today. 

"No major incident was reported in Haryana," Mr. Jha said. However, group clashes were reported from a few places. Polling was suspended in a booth in Hazaribagh district of Jharkhand after a polling official died following a heart attack. Another polling officer died after a heart attack in Elanahbad constituency of Haryana.

Assembly elections in 3 states

Voters defy Naxals, 55% vote:  Improper deployment of security forces and enforcement of selective boycott by Naxalite groups in Jehanabad and Gaya districts gave free rein to booth capturers. Out of seven persons killed either in group clashes or Naxal attack, four casualties came from these two districts whereas three others died in Rohtas. The average percentage of polling on the 64 seats, which went to polls in the first phase on Thursday, ranged between 52 and 56 per cent. 

Jharkhand: Given the overwhelming fear factor at play, the people in Jharkhand nevertheless choose to cast their votes in the Naxal-dominated areas that went to polls in the first phase on Thursday. Both in terms of voter turnout and violence, Thursday's polling can be described as satisfactory. 

Haryana Governor Dr AR Kidwai and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) supremo and Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala could not exercise their votes in the Assembly polls in the State on Thursday. Chautala could not cast his vote due to a ban imposed on him by the Election Commission in 1993. Besides Rori constituency, Chautala, who is contesting from Narwana, said: "If the Commission wants to deprive me of my voting rights, what can I do about it."

18 die in Jharkhand, Bihar poll violence:
A low turnout was recorded in the Naxalite-affected areas of Jharkhand in the first phase of polling for 24 Assembly seats with the Naxalites exploding a landmine yesterday night in Malahi Tola area of Chhattarpur constituency in Palamu division, which killed seven persons, including six security personnel.

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