May 1, 2009

Three killed in West Bengal blast

KOLKATA,30th April: Three persons were killed when a vehicle in which polling personnel were returning from duty blew up in a landmine explosion in the Jamboni area of West Bengal’s Paschim Medinipur district on Thursday. The incident occurred shortly after elections in 14 Lok Sabha constituencies, in the first of the three phases in the State, passed off without any major incident of violence.

The site of the blast is in the southwest of the State — a region that has been the scene of Maoist activity in recent times and where the call by extremists for a poll boycott evoked partial response.The victims were two sector officers and the driver of the vehicle, District Magistrate, N.S. Nigam, told mediapersons.

Another tragedy was averted when explosives was recovered from under a culvert over which polling personnel and security forces were to pass in the Barabazar area of Purulia district. The voter turnout in the day’s polls spanning nine districts including north Bengal was more than 65 per cent. There was no voting in 93 booths.

“Polling was largely free and fair. There was no report of any major untoward incident,” Debashis Sen, Chief Electoral Officer, said. Voting was moderately heavy, particularly in the hill area of the Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency.

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