Thursday, June 15, 2000,
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Nine killed in UP poll violence

LUCKNOW, June 14 (PTI, UNI) Nine persons were killed and over 50 injured today in incidents of firing and bomb blasts during the first phase of panchayat elections in Uttar Pradesh which witnessed a voter turnout of 70 per cent.

Cross-firing between rival political groups claimed four lives in Mainpuri district while one person each was killed in Baghpat, Bahraich, Shrawasti, Ghaziabad and Azamgarh, official reports said here.

In a bomb blast in Baghpat, one person was killed and six, including some policemen, were injured. The police also opened fire to disperse a group which tore ballot papers.

The reports said 12 persons were injured, three seriously, in a firing incident in Bahraich, adding that six more persons were injured in Ballia and five each in Shajahanpur and Etah in poll-related violence.

Nearly 70 per cent voters exercised their franchise in the first phase of the panchayat elections in 70 districts of the state.

Polling was suspended in Ranikharia village under the Nigori police station in Shajahanpur district and in Chandadhampur under the Dhanai police station of Badaun district, the Principal Home Secretary, Mr V.K. Mittal, said. Similarly, polling was suspended following a court order in Surajpur under the Shivgarh police station area of Raebareli district, he added.

According to a report from Etah quoting police sources, as many as 40 persons were injured in the clashes which took place at different places of the district during the polling. The injured included a gunner of Mr Sudhakar Verma, the district chief of the Rashtriya Kranti Party. Several vehicles were set afire by the miscreants in the district.

The snatching of ballot boxes was reported from the Chaganpur police station area of Badaun district in which two retired service personnel were found involved.

Two candidates, one each in Banda and Gonda district, died of heart attack, the officials said.

The state had just 33 companies of additional forces from outside that included 10 and four companies of paramilitary forces from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. 
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