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Seven killed in N-E poll violence

Five BSF men were among those killed while many EVMs were damaged in violence in Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya polls.

india Updated: Feb 27, 2003 12:26 IST
Agencies

Seven people, including five BSF personnel, were killed, three injured and a number of electronic voting machines were damaged in stray violence during polling for assemblies in the northeastern states of Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya on Wednesday.

The turnout in Tripura was the highest -- between 75 to 80 per cent, followed by 60 to 70 per cent in Nagaland and 55 per cent in Meghalaya.

Five BSF personnel and their civilian driver were shot dead and three other jawans injured by suspected National Liberation Front of Tripura militants, when the border guards were returning from poll duty, at Shantarampara in West Tripura district.

In Nagaland, one person was killed when activists of rival parties clashed at Changtongia town in Mokokchung district, home to Chief Minister SC Jamir. Suspected militants also fired in the air to scare away voters in the same town. Officials in Kohima said that although there were reports of clashes among workers of rival political parties, firing in the air by underground groups and damages to EVMs in certain areas, this did not adversely affect the polling process in the state.

Though there are seven national and three regional political parties in fray, the main battle for the 60-member Assembly is confined to the ruling Congress and newly formed Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) with Nagaland People's Front (NPF) and BJP being two of its major constituents.

In Meghalaya, there was 55 per cent turnout with polling being peaceful barring a single incident of EVM snatching at a polling booth in the Jayantia hills. Repolling would be held in Madanriting polling station because of a technical flaw in the EVM, Chief Electoral Officer PS Thakre said. He said that he would write to the CEC requesting the repoll on February 28.

Among the prominent candidates in the region whose electoral fates were decided were chief ministers SC Jamir (Nagaland), Flinder Anderson Khonglam (Meghalaya), Manik Sarkar (Tripura) besides former chief ministers Sudhir Ranjan Majumdar and Samir Ranjan Burman (Tripura).

In the lone bypoll in the region in Assam's Ratabari assembly constituency in Karimganj district 65 per cent voters exercised their franchise. The polling was necessitated following the death of independent MLA Ratish Ranjan Choudhury.

First Published: Feb 27, 2003 12:26 IST