Tuesday, August 21, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

9 cops killed in AP poll violence

Hyderabad, August 20
Nine policemen were killed in a powerful landmine blast triggered by Naxalites of the banned People’s War Group, marring the third and final phase of the panchayat elections in Andhra Pradesh today.

The incident, which also left dead the driver of a jeep in which they were travelling, took place in Guntur district, when a team of police personnel, led by Sub-Inspector Venkateshwara Rao, was proceeding to Remiticherla on poll duty. The vehicle was blown up by extremists, who set off a landmine and blew their vehicle to smithereens.

Its driver and most of the policemen in the private jeep were killed on the spot. Two other policemen injured in the blast were admitted to Government Hospital at Vinukonda.

Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, accompanied by Home Minister T. Devender Goud and DGP H.J. Dora, flew to Guntur district in the wake of the incident.

In other incidents, the police opened fire in at least four places to quell clashes between the TDP and Congress supporters in Prakasam and Anantapur districts. Poll authorities suspended polling after ink or water was poured into ballot boxes and ballot papers were torn by miscreants.

Police opened fire in the air to quell clashes between stone-throwing partymen of the Congress and the TDP at Chundi village. At Nagireddypalem in Prakasam district, the police resorted to firing in the air to disperse an unruly mob. Miscreants damaged ballot papers at Chinnavenkannapalem and Pedakallagunta villages. Polling was stopped in 38 booths in Prakasam district following instances of pouring of water or ink.

At Rangannavaripalem and V. Narayanpur villages in Anantapur district, the police opened fire in the air to quell clashes between rival supporters. At Kuchivaripalli in the same district, three ballot boxes were damaged and ink poured into two others.

In another incident at Vadlamudivaripalli village in Guntur district, TDP workers allegedly hurled bombs at Congress supporters near a polling booth. A Sub-Inspector sustained minor injuries in the incident.

In the third and final phase of panchayat elections, polling was held to elect 7081 sarpanches and ward members in 23 revenue divisions in the state. UNI


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