Maoists kill police officer, woman during Bihar panchayat poll

Three Maoists, who had queued up before a booth at Ramsinghdih panchayat under Laximpur block in Jamui district, opened fire killing Assistant Sub-Inspector Rajendra Jha on the spot, police said.

The Maoists, who have given a poll boycott call, later demanded a matchbox from a woman, Aisa Khatoon, to torch a tractor near the booth.

But, when she refused, they fired at her from close range, killing her and injuring two other villagers, the sources said.

A bomb explosion was reported from the house of a candidate for village chief in Jamui, but it was not known if there was any casualty, they said.However, claiming that polling was "completely peaceful", Director General of Police Neelmani said 501 preventive arrests were made during the polls.

Altogether 94 vehicles and around Rs 11000 in cash were seized during the polling, he said. A presiding officer, three candidates each for district boards and a village chief were among those arrested.

Local people attacked the official vehicle of Block Development Officer S N Jha at Birakh panchayat under Sursand police station in Sitamarhi district to protest securitymen beating up a child at a polling station, official sources said.

Though Jha escaped unhurt, two policemen were injured in the attack, they said.
1.43 lakh candidates are in the fray for 28,639 posts of village chiefs, sarpanchs, gram panchayat members, gram kutchery panch, panchayat samiti members and district board members.

Neelmani said security forces, including paramilitary personnel, besides SAP and BMP personnel were deployed at polling stations to ensure free and fair polls.
The 10-phase polls will end on May 28.

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