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New Delhi: Over 806 kgs of explosives and 130 improvised bombs have been found by security forces from Naxal violence-hit areas since the announcement of Lok Sabha polls on March 5.

The maximum of these death traps and ammunition, meant for use against security forces and poll officials, have been recovered by paramilitary CRPF from Left Wing Extremism- affected areas of Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Odisha.

According to an official report, a maximum of 61 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were recovered from Bihar, 34 from Jharkhand, 26 from Chhattigarh and nine from Odisha till April 30.

The total number of these locally-made IEDs stood at 130.

750 kgs of explosives were seized from Bihar, 53 kgs from Jharkhand, 0.5 kg from Chhattisgarh and 3.8 kgs from Odisha, taking the total to 806.92 kgs during the period between March 5 and April 30.

During the same period, 10 IED explosions took place in Bihar, six in Jharkhand and 13 in Chhattisgarh.

The maximum casualty for the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the lead anti-Naxal operations force and the largest security force deployed for polls, took place in the restive Bastar area of Chhattisgarh where 22 personnel were killed while 16 were injured in separate incidents.

Five CRPF men were also killed in Bihar while seven were injured in the same state while on poll duty in the Maoist grid.

A total of fifty-nine arms were also recovered during the same period from Bihar (11), Jharkhand (26), Chhattisgarh (15), Odisha (5) and Maharashtra (1).

Similarly, a total of 546 rounds of ammunition was found by the paramilitary force from these states with the maximum being detected in Jharkhand (446), Bihar (50), Chhattisgarh (37) and Odisha (13).

Till now, 53 encounters have taken place between CRPF and Naxals/insurgents in these areas with the highest number of such incidents being reported in Chhattisgarh (34), Jharkhand (11), Bihar (4) and Odisha and Maharashtra (two each).

Security officials that while there has been one incident of snatching of an EVM by Maoists in Odisha’s Koraput on April 10, no case of damage to EVMs by the red ultras has been reported till this period.

A multi-force contingent of close to 1.3-lakh paramilitary and state police personnel have been deployed to exclusively cater to election-related duties by the Union Home Ministry.

Apart from these men, a close to 1.2 lakh personnel and special units are already present in the Naxal and militancy affected areas to undertake operations and facilitate smooth movements of the forces across various states.

The ministry has also identified 33 Naxal-affected districts as being very sensitive with the highest number of incidents having been reported in these areas in Lok Sabha elections in 2004 and 2009 and also during Assembly polls in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2013.

While polling for the nine-phase Lok Sabha elections will end on May 12, counting of votes for all 543 constituencies will be taken up on May 16.

Along with the Lok Sabha polls, Assembly elections were also held simultaneously in the Telangana region, Odisha, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. Assembly polls in the Andhra Pradesh region will be conducted tomorrow.

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Free Press Journal