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Violence fails to box in voters

india Updated: Nov 01, 2006 01:32 IST

Mob clashes with police in Meerut . Polling cancelled in six Agra booths

VOTERS BOXED up the fate of candidates belonging to various political parties in the State on Tuesday. Even incidents of violence in many districts failed to deter the voters from casting their votes. Around 60 per cent voters exercised their franchise.

Meerut: A mob fought a pitched battle with police during the second-phase of the local bodies election here on Tuesday. Police resorted to a lathicharge to disperse the irate people which pelted the men in uniform with stones here at Zakir Colony.

Local people expressed their anger at the police after minor son of Nafisa sustained injuries in the cane-charge. Police said minors were in the queue to cast votes at the Capital School polling booth on Hapur Road.

Police said when they objected to polling by the minors, the mob turned violent. Left with no other option, police resorted to lathicharge. The city also witnessed another round of violence at the end of polling.

At least six persons of Chamrapaith area of Zakir colony, a journalist and five cops were injured in the brick-batting and lathicharge that continued for over an hour. Police also fired teargas shells to disperse the mob. A TV crew sustained serious head injuries in the attack. He was immediately taken to a nearby hospital.

The stone pelting was so heavy that police could not enter the alley where troublemakers were positioned. Eyewitnesses said police and troublemakers also exchanged fire.

District Magistrate Mukesh Kumar Meshram said a few persons were arrested from the spot. However, he denied firing by the police and said the situation was under control.

The trouble began at 3 pm when polling agents accused the administration of helping the BJP. In fact, an official seal on blank ballot paper became the bone of contention.

Those who were angry with police lathicharge at the same booth took this opportunity to spread the rumour that officials were hand in glove with the BJP. They showed ballot paper to the voters.

At this, residents took to the streets raising anti-police and anti-administration slogans. When police tried to intervene, the mob turned violent and pelted stones.

Varanasi: Violence marked civic poll in Varanasi on Tuesday. Bombs, arson and gunshots reigned supreme with the administration watching helplessly.

Elsewhere, polling was by and large peaceful with no report of any untoward incident reported from the major part of Eastern UP.

Kanpur: Bombs, bullets, brickbatting marred polling in the city. Opposition parties accused the administration and police of colluding with the ruling party and helping them to rig the poll.

Allahabad: Incidents of violence were reported from different parts of the district. Hundreds of women, belonging to one community, reportedly gheraoed the Kotwali police station to protest against large-scale rigging and booth capturing at Majidia Islamia polling centre in the city west.

Gorakhpur: Barring a few incidents of scuffle between supporters of candidates, polling passed off peacefully here on Tuesday.

Jhansi: All Opposition candidates demanded a repoll following reports of booth-capturing during the mayoral and corporators’ elections. DM Venketeshwar Loo and a senior official BR Meena were gheraoed by candidates and political leaders.

Jaunpur: Barring sporadic incidents of violence, the local bodies election for the Nagar Palika Parishads in Jaunpur, Shahganj and Mungra Badshahpur passed off peacefully on Tuesday. Average voter turnout of 56.5 per cent was recorded in Jaunpur, 67 per cent in Mungra Badshahpur and 69 per cent in Shahganj.

Bareilly: Over 61 per cent of people cast their votes in the district where election was held amidst tight security. Although there were a few incidents of fake voting and attempt to capture booths, the election passed peacefully.

Mirzapur: Over 60 per cent of voters cast their votes. There was no incident of violence in the district.

Pratapgarh: Meera Bhawan polling station presiding officer Ram Lal filed an FIR in connection with a booth capturing attempt during the first phase for polling on Saturday. Three persons were arrested on the charges of assault.

Ballia: Forty per cent voter turnout was recorded for the election to the Nagar Palika chairman’s post on Tuesday.