Chhattisgarh bloodbath: Mahendra Karma was prime target, claim Maoists

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New Delhi/Raipur: The Maoists on Tuesday claimed responsibility for the deadly May 25 attack on a convoy of Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh.

The Naxals sent a four-page letter and an audio clipping to the media, claiming they were behind the attack in which 27 people including top Congress state leaders were killed.

The letter carries the signature of a Maoists spokesperson from Dandakaranya. As per the letter, a team of the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) carried out the attack. It further states that senior Congress leaders Mahendra Karma, Nand Kumar Patel and VC Shukla were the main targets of the attack.

The attack left Karma and Patel dead, while Shukla was critically injured and is undergoing treatment at a Gurgaon hospital.

The Maoists claimed that their purpose was to “punish” Mahendra Karma who had launched the anti-Naxal armed movement Salwa Judum. The Reds blamed Nand Kumar Patel for giving a go ahead to Operation Green Hunt and letting paramilitary forces join anti-Naxal operations when he served as the state home minister.

In the letter Maoists claimed they regret killing some “innocent” Congress functionaries in the attack, but put the blame on state Chief Minister Raman Singh, the Congress and the BJP for their “anti-people policies” which led to the attack.

The Reds also hit out at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, BJP president Rajnath Singh and CM Raman Singh for choosing to stay mum “when innocent people were killed by the state”.

The Maoists also made seven demands in the letter, calling for the withdrawal of paramilitary forces from Dandakaranya and an end to Operation Green Hunt. Naxals also sought the release of arrested Maoists and “innocent” tribals from prison unconditionally.

The National Investigation Agency is, meanwhile, probing the attack and it yesterday surveyed the site of Saturday’s deadly Maoist attack.

In New Delhi, Minister of State for Home RPN Singh said: “There have been security lapses and the NIA will investigate the whole case.”

“Punishment has to be meted out to someone, whoever is responsible, at the Centre level or state level. The buck has to stop somewhere,” Singh told reporters.

The Defence Ministry meanwhile ruled out any Army role in fighting the rebels and the Union Home Ministry asked the troubled states to review politicians’ security.

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