Maoists sending bulk SMS for poll boycott in Bihar

Maoists sending bulk SMS for poll boycott in Bihar

Maoists sending bulk SMS for poll boycott in Bihar

In a first, Maoists are sending out bulk SMS to voters calling for boycott of the Lok Sabha elections in six constituencies going to polls in the first phase in Bihar, while also threatening policemen and polling personnel.

"Though they have always been against elections, this is a new method adopted by Maoists. They are now using bulk SMS when earlier they used posters and pamphlets," Director General of Police (DGP) Abhyanand told PTI here.

"But then there is no check on anybody sending such messages. We are trying to trace the root of the SMS. We are doing whatever is needed to be done for smooth polling," Abhayanand said.

Police sources said the SMS are being sent in the name of Maoist spokesperson Avinash. The text messages address people, workers, farmers, intellectuals, besides "patriots and revolutionaries".

"The messages also ask Maoist guerillas to attack policemen on the day of elections and appeal to polling personnel not to travel in police vehicles for their own safety. This seems to be a tactic to create fear among the people," the sources said.

Additional Chief Electoral Officer R Lakshmanan told PTI that the use of bulk messages by Maoists has come to the notice of Election Commission.

"We assure polling personnel and the people that there is no cause for worry. We have talked to all district magistrates and superintendents of police in the districts to coordinate with central paramilitary forces and take adequate measures against the perceived threat," he said.

Six Lok Sabha constituencies - Gaya, Nawada, Jamui, Aurangabad, Sasaram and Karakat - in south Bihar considered Maoist-hit would go to the polls in the first phase in the state on April 10.

The police plan to deploy over 48,000 men in the six constituencies, while army helicopters will act as eyes in the sky.