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41 polling parties stranded in Chhattisgarh

R Krishna Das  |  Kolkata/ Raipur 

Pilots’ refusal to fly choppers after Naxal attack on Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopter Friday stranded 41 polling parties in the insurgency-hit dense forests of Dantewada and Bijapur districts for two days.

On Saturday morning, the pilots refused to take off in protest against Friday’s incident in which an IAF person was killed when rebels sprayed bullets on Mi-8 helicopter of IAF near Pedia village while it was ferrying the polling party.

As many as ten helicopters—of IAF and private agencies—were pressed into service to ensure free and fair elections in the Naxal-infested pockets. The polling parties were air-dropped by choppers in the booths located in the remote and inaccessible pockets under the control of red army.

The polling parties were supposed to return on Saturday morning.

First Published: Mon, November 17 2008. 00:00 IST