Several injured in poll-related violence in Odisha

Boudh/Cuttack/Rayagada: Several instances of violence were reported from various places in Odisha as the second phase of polling for the three-tier panchayat elections concluded today.

Tension erupted in Kasurbandha panchayat in Boudh district after 3 rounds blank firing by two warring groups which left 6 persons injured. . According to sources, supporters of a sarpanch candidate were attacked by members of the rival group who opened blank fire at booth number 11 and 12 of Kasurbandh panchayat. Moreover, the candidate’s vehicle was also ransacked. In view of the tension, voting in the area was halted for some time. Police seized a cartridge from the spot. To prevent any further violence, 1 platoon force has been deployed in the area.

Also Read: Poll violence claims two lives, injures 11

Elsewhere in Athagarh in Cuttack district, group clash was reported from Kumarpur-Sashank road during the campaigning of BJD MLA Ranendra Pratap Swain. As per a complaint lodged in Gurudijhatia police station, two motorcycles were gutted while two others along with a bicycle were ransacked in the clash between two groups. Moreover, villagers have alleged that one youth who was going from Kumarpur on a motorcycle has gone missing. Police have reached the spot and started investigation.

In Rayagada district, a booth was reportedly captured. As per allegations, the booth number-6 of Radhanga under Kurli Panchayat of Bissam Katak block was captured after which voting was stopped. The polling party returned from the block office following the incident. According to sources, around 30 miscreants barged into the booth this morning and snatched ballot papers. They also thrashed the presiding officer for resisting them and locked up the polling officials before fleeing.

A report from Ganjam district said ballot papers were snatched in at least seven booths in Sanakhemundi block.

“We have submitted a report in this regard to the SEC,” Election Officer-cum-Block Development Officer, Naresh Chandra Sabara said.

He said around 50 people entered the polling booths and snatched the ballot papers. While some of them tore ballot papers, others forcibly dropped them into the ballot boxes.

In Kendrapara, miscreants snatched ballot papers and tore them in booth no. 17 in Adanga village under Indalo gram panchayat. A group of miscreants barged into the booth and tore the papers, officials said.

The Police later retrieved the mutilated ballot papers. The district election office has been informed about the incident, Kendrapara Additional Superintendent of Police Bikash Chandra Dash said.

In another incident, two persons who had run away with four ballot papers from the Chandol polling booth, were detained, he said.

The Police have registered a case in this connection after the Presiding Officer lodged a complaint, he said.