Berhampur, April 17 (LocalWire): On the eve of the second phase of elections in the state, suspected Maoists gunned down a polling agent and burnt a vehicle carrying polling personnel in two different incidents in Maoist-hit Kandhamal district on Wednesday.
The deceased was identified as Sanjukta Digal, a polling supervisor. She along with three others was travelling in the vehicle, when suspected Maoists fired at them at Balandapada under Gochhapada police station.
A severely injured Digal was admitted at Gochhapada Hospital before shifting to Phulbani, where doctors declared her brought dead.
The Maoists first lobbed a land mine in front of the vehicle. When the driver reversed the vehicle after the blast, the miscreants fired and one of the bullets hit Digal, said sector officer Prakash Das, who was in the vehicle.
In another incident, suspected Maoists burnt down a polling vehicle after asking the polling personnel to get down from the vehicle at Mugunipadara under Phiringia police station.
The polling party was going to Phiringia from Phulbani when the incident took place. The polling officers are safe, police said.
Combing operation is on in full swing in the area and security has been tightened to ensure peaceful election and provide necessary protection to the voters as well as the polling personnel engaged in poll duty.
As many as 75 platoons of forces, including 60 platoons of Central forces have been deployed in the Maoist-hit district for twin elections for Assembly and Lok Sabha.
Besides, over 800 police personnel have been mobilized from other districts of the state to maintain law and order during the voting in 659 booths in three Assembly constituencies under Kandhamal Parliamentary segment in the district, said SP (Kandhamal) Pratik Singh. The administration has identified 50 booths as most critical in the district.
The district has three Assembly segments, including Phulbani, Baliguda and G Udayagiri, all reserve constituencies for the scheduled tribe (ST).
Over 5.43 lakh voters will be exercising their franchise and 4356 polling personnel have been engaged in poll duty in the district, said district collector-cum district election officer Burndha D.