Seven killed in Indian polling day attacks

At least seven people were killed as Maoist rebels launched an attack today in a bid to disrupt the general election in the world's largest democracy.

Indian police said that suspected rebels opened fire on paramilitary soldiers in the eastern state of Jharkhand, killing five troops, as the elections got under way.

Superintendent of police Hemant Topo said today that reinforcements were sent to secure the area in Latehar.

Anupama Nilokar, a regional deputy inspector general, said that in the neighbouring state of Bihar, suspected rebels attacked a polling station in Gaya district, killing a policeman.

It is the second time in two days rebels have tried to mar the polls. In a clash yesterday, three security staff and five rebels were killed.

States in central and north-eastern India, which are most vulnerable to Maoist attacks, are voting today. It is the first of the five phases to be held over the period of one month.

Rebels have fought the government for decades in rural regions accusing the politicians not doing enough for the poor.

Other parts of the country have also reported Naxal violence, including Andhra Pradesh.

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