Polling staff shot dead by ‘Maoists’ in Odisha

Phulbani: Just a few hours before the commencement of second phase polls, a polling official was shot dead allegedly by Maoists near Barahla village under Gochhapada Police limits of Kandhamal district today.

As per reports, the deceased, identified as Gram Rojgar Sevak Sanjkuta Digal along with three others, was on her way to a Barahla booth on poll duty in a vehicle. There was a landmine explosion in front of the vehicle following which the occupants moved out of it. Suddenly, bullets were fired, allegedly by Maoists. Though three of the four persons escaped unhurt, Sanjukta was hit by a bullet on her head and died on the spot.

“There was a landmine explosion in front of our vehicle and we had a narrow escape. To save us, the driver drove back amid heavy firing,” said Prakash Chandra Das, another poll official who was present in the vehicle.

“We had gone to the village to supervise polling at the designated booth. No police personnel were accompanying us,” added Das.

In another incident today, a group of Maoists torched a vehicle of the polling party which was on its way to Mungunipadar booth under Phiringia Police limits. The Maoists, after dragging the poll officials out, torched their vehicle.