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Wednesday, September 15, 1999 Published at 14:02 GMT 15:02 UK


World: South Asia

Poll violence hits Andhra Pradesh

The People's War group has called for an election boycott

By Omer Farooq in Hyderabad

Left-wing militants or Naxalites have killed four people, including a candidate of the ruling Telugu Desam party, in the state of Andhra Pradesh, according to police.

Indian Elections 99
Full results
This is the third major attack by left-wing Naxalites in the last 10 days in which 12 people have been killed.

Police said Purushottam Rao, the TDP candidate for the Sirpur assembly constituency in Adilabad district, was killed at his home on Wednesday morning.

Three of his security guards were also killed by a group of seven Naxalites riding bicycles.

Mr Rao was standing in the north Telangana region where there is a strong Naxalite presence.

Boycott

The Naxalite People's War group or PWG has called for a boycott of the elections.

Throughout the region, anti-police posters and banners have been put up.

Leaders of almost all political parties have said that they would not go to certain areas of the state, because the Naxalites have laid landmines on village roads.

The PWG has opposed elections for the last 15 years, and such violent attacks often preceed polling in an effort to disrupt voting.

But such threats have not affected voter turnout which has consistently remained at 60%.

The state's Director General for Police H J Dora says all possible measures have been taken - including the deployment of nearly 60,000 policemen to ensure peace during Saturday's voting in the region.



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