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     Bijapur, November 14, 2008: In a daring incident, the Maoists this evening attacked an Indian Air Force helicopter and killed its Flight Engineer when the copter was returning with polling materials from Bijapur district after vote, top officials said.

     When a Military Helicopter MI-8 was taking off from Pidiya helipad with Electronic Voting Machines after the polls, Maoists sprayed bullets from sophisticated weapons on the copter, official sources told the ChhattisgarhTopNews.Com.

     The Maoists might have fired about 50 bullets this evening and many of them even hit the helicopter and one of them had damaged the front glass and hit the Flight Engineer Sergeant Mustafa Ali, they said.

      Seeing the crisis, the pilot took the copter to a height immediately and went to Jagdalpur, they said.

       As the bullet hit the head of Sgt Ali, he died on the spot, state Chief Electoral Officer Dr Alok Shukla told ChhattisgarhTopNews.Com at Raipur.

      Due to the attack the fuel tank of the helicopter was also damaged, but the courage of the pilot had saved the life of other people, including two unwell BSF jawans who were on that IAF helicopter, Shukla said.

     Sgt Ali was sitting between the pilot and the co-pilot when the incident took place and one of the bullets breaking the front glass hit his head, he said.

     In another incident of naxal firing one CRPF Radio Operator Dharmendra Rai was also killed today during poll in Korenar village of Kanker district in the same Bastar region, Shukla said.

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