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Darbhaguda nightmare looms over Chhattisgarh assembly

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Raipur, Mar 1 (UNI) The opposition Congress boycotted today's Chhattisgarh assembly proceedings alleging that the government was shying away from a comprehensive discussion on naxal violence in which several tribals were killed in South Bastar.

Mr Bhupesh Baghel (Cong) and others had sought to raise the issue of yesterday's blast through their notice for an adjournment motion saying that at least 50 persons died in the incident. He said there were also reports that the rebels abducted nearly 150 persons.

The members alleged that the government failed to combat naxalism despite receiving central support.

In his reply, Home Minister Ram Vichar Netam threw light on circumstances leading to the explosion. ''As per information received until now, 26 people were slain and 30 injured,'' he said.

Stating that Maoists were posing a threat to the nation's internal security, the minister said naxals always opposed the democratic system and development.

Pointing out that the government was sensitive towards the problem, he said steps were being taken for socio-economic development of tribal areas. Besides, the state had also announced a rehabilitation package for victims of insurgency.

Mr Netam said the vidhan sabha already passed the Chhattisgarh Special Peoples' Security Bill 2005, enshrining provisions to deal with the situation, and it was awaiting presidential assent.

The minister said the naxals were unleashing terror and targeting innocents as they were becoming ''isolated'' following the success of 'Salwa Judum', a movement launched by the people against left-wing extremists. He claimed that the movement was receiving support from every political party.

Participating in the debate on the admissibility of the motion, Congress MLAs demanded imposition of president's rule as the BJP government ''failed'' to contain naxal violence and maintain law and order in tribal areas.

Mr Baghel drew the attention of the house towards lack of coordination among security forces deployed in Bastar region. The spurt in such incidents ''clearly indicated'' failure of intelligence agencies.

Alleging that police failed to cut off funds and food supply to ultra groups active in forests, he added that effective steps had to be taken to identify the funds' source.

Mr Rajendra Pambhoi (Cong) said the naxals laid landmines over 150 sq km and even the police admitted that these areas were unsafe.

Mr Dharamjit Singh said yesterday's incident endorsed an apprehension that tribals were being used as human shields as there was inadequate security to those returning from an anti-rebel campaign meeting.

After the debate, Speaker Prem Prakash Pandey disallowed the motion and the Congress announced the boycott.

UNI AS-JJ AC PK KP1740

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