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Bihar: Security even in the skies!

Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna | February 01, 2005 20:40 IST

As campaigning ended for the first phase of polls in Bihar on Tuesday evening, fear of violence loomed large over the state.

Some 232 Central Paramilitary Forces companies are to be deployed in the state. To boot, air patrolling by Special Task Force men is also being introduced for the first time in Bihar on polling day.

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Sources in the government said 30 companies of the Punjab Armed Police and 10 companies of the West Bengal Armed Police would also be pressed into service.

Around 79 companies of the Central Reserve Police Force, 95 of the Border Security Force, 55 companies of the Central Industrial Security Force and 3 companies of Seema Sashastra Bal have also been deployed in 64 assembly seats in 12 districts for the first phase.

The police have also agreed to deploy 90 companies of the Bihar Military Police.

Despite these arrangements, police officials said they feared that there could be violence.

Sources in the home department said STF would use two choppers, specially given by the Centre, to monitor polling from the skies.

"One chopper will be stationed in Jamui district and the other in Gaya or Rohtas; all three districts are known strongholds of Maoist guerillas," official said.

Officials said special security arrangements have been made in Gaya, Bhojpur, Aurangabad, Jehanabad, Arwal, Nawada and Jamui -- all naxal-infested areas.

Maoist guerrillas have been visiting villages and threatening people with dire consequences if they cast their votes.

Some villagers in Jehanabad, Arwal and Gaya complained to visiting officials that the Maoists had threatened to kill them if they violated the poll boycott.

Two weeks ago, the Communist Party of India-Maoist had said it would intensify guerrilla attacks before the elections.

Soon after the threat, on January 22, a Lok Janshakti Party candidate from Imamganj in Gaya, Rajesh Kumar, was killed along with three of his supporters.

Ranvir Sena, a private army of the landlords in Bihar, have also threatened to target electoral rivals.

Complete Coverage: Assembly Elections 2005

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Sub: Bihar Polls

Call US army to supervise polls in Bihar. The situation in Bihar is no less grave than in Iraq.



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