New Delhi: Concerned over high incidents of violence, the Home Ministry has asked the Election Commission to conduct the upcoming Lok Sabha polls in 33 Naxal-hit districts in the first phase to ensure maximum security and minimum casualties.
In a communication to the EC, the Home Ministry gave the statistics of violence in the 33 districts in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Odisha, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh where the highest number of incidents were reported in Lok Sabha elections in 2004 and 2009, and Assembly polls in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2013.
Besides, in 2013, there were 383 incidents of violence in Jharkhand in which 150 civilians and security personnel were killed and there were 353 such cases in Chhattisgarh where 110 people lost their lives.
In Bihar, 69 people, including security personnel lost their lives in 176 incidents of violence in 2013 while 101 cases of violence were reported in Odisha in which 35 people were killed.
The districts in which the Home Ministry recommended holding of Lok Sabha polls in first phase are Khunti, Gumla, Latehar, Simdega, West Singhbhum, Ranchi, Dumka, Giridih, Palamu, Garhwa, Chatra, Lohardaga and Bokaro (all Jharkhand).
The districts in Chhattisgarh are Bastar, Bijapur, Sukma, Dantewada, Kanker, Narayanpur, Kondagaon and Rajnandgaon, while those in Bihar are Aurangabad, Gaya, Jamui, Muzaffarpur and Lakhisarai. In Odisha, the districts are Malkangiri, Koraput, Nuapada and Bolangir.
The Home Ministry has also recommended that Lok Sabha polls also be held in first phase in Maharashtra`s Gadchiroli district and Andhra Pradesh`s Vishakhapatnam and Khammam districts.
More than 1.20 lakh central paramilitary personnel, in addition to state police forces, are expected to be deployed for the multi-phased Lok Sabha polls which are likely to be held in April-May.