Two bombs planted by suspected Maoist rebels have killed at least 14 people in the eastern Indian state of Chhattisgarh as voting continues in the general election.
Saturday\’s attacks came as Indians cast ballots in the resort state of Goa and in the far-flung northeast in another round of the multi-phase polls that wind up on May 12 with results due on May 16.
Six polling team officials were killed when Maoists blew up their bus in the state of Chhattisgarh, senior police officer Gurjinder Pal Singh told the AFP news agency.
"The Maoists triggered the landmine blasts," Singh, a key official in ensuring election security in the state, told AFP.
Five security men engaged in an election safety operation and another victim were killed in a separate landmine blast that created a huge crater in the road.
The men were blown up near Darbha, where Maoists massacred the top leadership of the Congress party of Chhattisgarh last May.
The blasts, just an hour apart, came just days after Maoist rebels killed three soldiers guarding polling officials in Chhattisgarh, underscoring the security challenges facing election organisers in India.
Separatist and Maoist insurgencies afflict large swathes of India\’s northeast, northwest and central regions.
Vowing to prevent the rebels from disrupting the vote, the government has deployed tens of thousands of police and paramilitary soldiers to guard polling booths in insurgency-wracked areas. But the rebels have only stepped up their attacks while also asking citizens to boycott the vote.
India began five weeks of general election polling last Monday.
More than 814 million Indians are eligible to vote in the polls, which opened on 7 April.
A party or a coalition needs a minimum of 272 seats in the 543-seat lower house of parliament to form a government.