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Boycott ballot, say rebels

Bokaro, March 31: Maoists have given a poll boycott call in the coal belt, asking people to “kick out” candidates of all major parties from their areas, even as police claimed to have stepped up vigil to ensure peaceful elections.

Over two dozens posters were spotted near Kanjkiro in Nawadih and Bokaro Thermal Power Station township in Bermo block — both in Bokaro district — this morning.

The Maoist posters “directed” people to abstain from voting and claim their rights to forests, land and water. Also, Naxalites asked the police to stop all anti-rebel operations, remove camps from rural areas and release all Maoists lodged in jail unconditionally.

Last week, similar posters were found in Dumri block of Dhanbad district.

Nawadih, Bermo and Dumri are part of the Giridih constituency that goes to the polls on April 17.

“We removed the posters. Security forces have been put on high alert to thwart any untoward incident in the region,” said superintendent of police (SP), Bokaro, Jitendra Singh.

But, how did rebels manage to paste posters in the township, merely 50 metres from the police station, despite “round-the-clock” patrolling?

A senior officer said it was a handiwork of some local Maoist sympathisers. “Police were looking for them,” he claimed.

Despite the assurance, Maoist posters have sparked both fear and speculation.

The posters have specifically targeted the Congress, BJP and JVM, leaving out the JMM.

Giridih is heading towards a triangular battle with BJP’s Ravindra Pandey, JVM’s Saba Ahmad and JMM’s Jagannath Mahto being the frontrunners, whereas no Congress candidate is in the fray.

But, the Naxalites did not mention the name of Mahto, triggering rumours that rebels were supporting the JMM heavyweight.

But sources said Maoists deliberately ignored JMM to create confusion and trigger mudslinging among parties.

After the incident, parties are scared of venturing into remote areas. “We may avoid going to Maoist strongholds for campaigning,” said JVM leader Mohammad Aslam.

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