Raipur: Senior Congress leader Mahendra Karma, the guiding force behind the anti-Naxal movement Salwa Judum, was peppered with bullets by nearly 100 to 150 ultras in one of the deadliest attacks in Chhattisgarh on Saturday, PTI said.
Karma, a former Home Minister, was surrounded by about 100 to 150 Naxals who peppered his body with bullets, PTI said.
Striking in a big way, heavily-armed Naxals shot dead Karma and injured former union minister VC Shukla who is said to be critical having sustained three bullets in an ambush in a dense forest in Chhattisgarh's Jagdalpur district.
The Naxals also kidnapped PCC chief Nand Kumar Patel and his son Dinesh after attacking a convoy of Congress leaders in Darba Gati Valley, police said. A former Congress MLA from Rajnandgaon Udya Mudaliyar was also shot dead and prominent woman tribal leader Phulo Devi Netam, Bastar, wounded by the Maoists who attacked the convoy at around 1730 hours when they were returning from the party's "Parivartan" rally.
There were unconfirmed reports of some policemen and other Congress activists being killed in the attack.
The Naxals had put up road blocks by felling trees before triggering a landmine blast that hit one of the vehicles in the convoy and opening fire, police sources said. After carrying out the attack, the ultras set nearby trees on fire. The Personal Security Officers of the Congress leaders returned the fire but soon ran out of bullets becoming sitting ducks.
The Naxal attack took place in a dense forest near National Highway 202 connecting Chattisgarh with Naxal-hit Bhadrachalam district in adjacent Andhra Pradesh. Opposition Congress' Parivartan Yatra, comprising senior party leaders, had launched Parivartan Yatra on April 12 in the state where Assembly elections are due by year end. Chhattisgarh Congress media cell president Shailesh Trivedi said it was matter of investigation whether Naxals were involved in the attack.
He alleged the state's BJP government did not provide adequate security to Congress' Yatra despite opposition from Naxals. "Naxals have opposed both BJP's Vikas Yatra and Congress' Parivartan Yatra. However, the state government provided security only to BJP's Yatra and not to the one organised by Congress. Had it been provided security, today's incident would not have happened," he said.