Mahendra Karma had only six guards with him when Maoists attacked

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NEW DELHI: Mahendra Karma, former Chhattisgarh home minister, slain by Maoists along with 26 others, had Z-plus security with 16 armed guards but was accompanied by only six guards when he was attacked.

Sources said when the Maoists attacked the convoy of Congress leaders on May 25, Karma, PCC chief Nand Kumar Patel and others did not have adequate security, exposing themselves badly before Maoists attack.

Karma, who was on the hit list of Maoists for long, was given Z-plus security by Chhattisgarh government. But on Saturday, when the Congress leaders were attacked, the tribal politician was accompanied by only six guards who were carrying only light weapons, sources said.

Preliminary reports suggested the extremists could target the Congress leaders as security was completely lax for the Congress rally when it had entered Jagdalpur district unlike Sukma district where adequate security was provided to the political programme.

Sources said suspended Bastar SP Mayak Shrivastav had failed to give clear instructions for security of the ‘Congress Yatra’ when it was passing through the troubled district resulting in the attack.

There was no specific information that the Congress leaders would be targeted by Maoists and everyone in the security establishment was surprised over Naxals attacking a political rally, said the sources.

They said both Central and Chhattisgarh governments have resolved to hit back at the Maoists in a big way in the coming days and instructed security agencies that adequate protection should be given to all political parties, their programmes and the leaders.

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