Masked attackers snatch voting machines in north-east India

India's mammoth elections staggered over nearly six weeks ended on May 19, 2019 and were largely peaceful. PHOTO: AFP

GUWAHATI, INDIA (REUTERS) - About 500 masked men carrying guns and machetes attacked Indian election officials in a remote northeastern state and made off with computerised voting machines, officials said on Wednesday (May 22).

India's mammoth elections staggered over nearly six weeks ended on Sunday and were largely peaceful.

But political parties opposed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's alliance have alleged tampering of voting machines and intimidation of election officials in isolated areas.

On Sunday, a team of officials was travelling through dense jungle to a polling station in Arunachal Pradesh when it was ambushed, district magistrate Rido Tarek said.

Some of the attackers opened fire, but there were no casualties, police said.

"About 500 miscreants attacked our polling team and also resorted to firing although no one was injured," state police inspector-general Sunil Garg told Reuters by telephone.

The team was on its way to Koloriang constituency for a repoll set for Tuesday following allegations of malpractices during the voting in April.

The election was held on Tuesday after a new team was sent with machines, Inspector-General Garg said.

The Election Commission did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But it said it had received some complaints about attempts to tamper with voting machines in strongrooms from other parts of the country, but they were not true.

Votes are to be counted on Thursday.

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