Cong leader, son gunned down in Chhattisgarh

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Jagdalpur, Chhattisgarh, Nov 19 (UNI) A Congress leader and his son, who were associated with the anti-Maoist movement ''Salwa Judum'' in Bastar division, were gunned down today by naxals near Bijapur district's Moosaloor village, police said.

The incident took place around 0930 hrs when Block Congress Committee President Budhram Rana and his son Kamlesh were on a motorbike en route to a party function organised in connection with the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Preliminary reports said the rebels intercepted them near Moosaloor. The ultras torched a minitruck before fleeing to forests.

Mr Rana was closely associated with Salwa Judum, which began in June 2005 in Bastar after locals rose against the extremists. He was among those in the forefront.

Security personnel have been rushed to Moosaloor to launch combing operations to flush out insurgents.

Maoists stepped up violence in tribal Bastar since June 2005, retaliating against Salwa Judum under which tribals organise rallies and meetings to motivate people to keep aloof from the naxals.

More than 700 people, including several personnel, were killed in rebel-related violence in the division since the anti-ultra campaign started. Besides, more than 57,000 people abandoned their villages and sheltered in 23 relief camps set up by the state government in southern Bastar following a threat from the extremists.

UNI

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