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Fearing Maoists, voters don't want ink mark on their fingers

PTI  Raipur, November 01, 2013
First Published: 13:30 IST(1/11/2013) | Last Updated: 08:46 IST(8/11/2013)

In wake of Maoist threats to boycott polls in Chhattisgarh's Bastar region, villagers have requested election officers that the indelible ink should not be applied on fingers after they exercise their franchise.

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Eighteen Naxal-affected constituencies of eight districts -- Bastar, Bijapur, Kondagaon, Sukma, Narayanpur, Dantewada, Kanker and Rajnandgaon -- will go to polls in the first phase on November 11. The second phase of polling, covering 72 seats spread across 19 districts, will be held on November 19.

According to sources, villagers from Dantewada, Sukma and Bijapur have requested district election officers (collectors) for the exemption.
The Dantewada district election officer has proposed not to make indelible ink mandatory in constituencies of his region after villagers urged him in this connection, chief electoral officer Sunil Kujur told PTI.

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The proposal has been forwarded to the Election Commission for further consideration, he added.

According to official sources, a similar proposal has also been received from two more southern districts, including Sukma and Bijapur, after Maoists allegedly warned the villagers that if anyone is found with ink marks, his or her fingers will be chopped off.
Some villagers said they are ready to brave the Moaist threats to cast their votes if the indelible ink is not applied on their fingers, sources said.

The Red cadres have been visiting many villages in their stronghold – Bastar – for the past one month, putting up posters and asking people to boycott the elections.

Taking a serious note of the Maoists threat, the Centre has sent additional 400 companies (40,000 personnel) of paramilitary forces to ensure peaceful polling.
Around 65,000 police personnel and 27,000 paramilitary troopers were already engaged in anti-Maoist operations in the state.

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