5 killed as voters go to polls in northeastern Indian state

Voters wait outside a polling station at Shajouba in India's northeastern Manipur state on Saturday.

Story highlights

  • Separatist rebels opened fire at a polling center
  • Among the dead were three poll workers
  • The shooting occurred despite heightened security
  • Manipur has been wracked by an insurgency for decades
Suspected separatist rebels sprayed a polling center with bullets Saturday afternoon in the Indian state of Manipur, killing at least five people.
Three poll workers died. Also killed was a paramilitary soldier and a woman who had come to cast her vote, Radhe Shyam, the police chief in the capital, Imphal, told CNN.
India's state-owned Doordarshan television reported a sixth person was injured and later died in hospital. A gunman was also killed.
The shooting took place after other incidents of violence that prompted heightened security during Saturday's voting.
Separatist groups had called for a boycott of the election.
Manipur is known as the jeweled land for its lush, hilly landscape but thousands have died in a bloody insurgency wracking the northeastern state for three decades.
Separatists want Manipur wrested from New Delhi's control for a host of reasons involving racial, cultural and linguistic differences.
For New Delhi's ruling coalition, Manipur served as barometer of its popularity. The state was the first of five to hold state assembly elections that are seen as key tests for the corruption-tainted Congress Party.
Voters in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Goa will also be casting ballots in the next few weeks. The results are due March 6.