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|September 18, 1999||
Naxals kill 24, including 21 cops, in Bihar
At least 24 people, including 21 policemen and two polling personnel, were killed in a series of mine blasts and encounters with Naxalite outfits in three districts of Bihar, hours before polling opened today.
While 14 police personnel including eight Central Reserve Police Force jawans were killed in landmine blasts at three places in Palamaau district, nine including six policemen and two polling officials died in blasts and encounters at two places in Hazaribagh district. One policeman was killed in Rohtas district.
Regional Inspector General of Police Rameshwar Oraon said eight jawans of the CRPF were killed in a landmine explosion between Chainpur and Ramgarh village in Palamau district this morning.
Meanwhile, an estimated 15 percent of over 2.6 million voters in the 19 Lok Sabha constituencies of Bihar exercised their franchise today in the first four hours of polling.
State election office sources in Patna said that polling, which began on a low key, picked up slowly. Not many voters turned up in the first hour.
A lukewarm response among the electorate was visible in the extremist-dominated areas in the wake of the poll boycott call given by the People's War Group and the Maoist Communist Centre among others.
Sources said the turnout of voters increased in these areas as the day progressed. Reports of smooth polling was received from many areas, including Gaya and Giridih.
A patrol party was attacked by the extremists at Mandu in Hazaribagh district, while another encounter took place between the extremists and the paramilitary forces near booth number 172 of Palamaau. Details were awaited.
Polling at booth number 162 under Dinara police station in Rohtas was postponed following looting of polling material by the extremists.
A policeman was killed and another injured near Tabua under Nohatta police station in Rohtas district last night, official sources said in Patna. They were going to the polling stations when the explosion occurred.
A police jeep overturned at Naji under Bishnugarh police station in Hazaribagh district when a landmine exploded, injuring three policemen.
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