13 killed in naxal blast in Chhattisgarh
Jagdalpur, Mar 25: At least 13 people were killed and four injured when naxalites triggered a landmine blast at village Godha, about 12 Kms from Pakhanjur, in Kanker district of Chhattisgarh early this morning (Mar 25, 2006).
Kanker District Superintendent of Police Pradeep Gupta said bodies of the victims torn into pieces were lying scattered around the blast site. Three of the seriously injured were referred to the medical college hospital in the state capital, Raipur.
Bastar Range Inspector General of Police M W Ansari told UNI that the blast seemed to be in retaliation against the ongoing anti-naxal campaign 'Salwa Judum', now focussed in Dantewada district. The naxalites wanted to ensure that the campaign did not spread to other areas of Bastar region, Mr Ansari said.
The incident occurred as a jeep carrying about 18 people, mostly local traders returning to Pakhanjur after attending a weekly market at Sangam, hit the landmine laid by the naxals, police sources said.
Mr Ansari said para-military forces had been sent to carry out combing operations in the nearby forests.
Communist Party of India (Maoist) cadres have stepped up violence in entire Bastar region after the 'Salwa Judum' campaign against the naxal movement began nearly six months ago. Ruling BJP and the main opposition Congress are also supporting the 'Salwa Judum' movement.
As the maoists began retaliating against those participating in the movement, nearly 45,000 local tribals from more than 640 villages in south Bastar anandoned their home and took shelter in the relief camps opened by the state government.
Subsequently, the naxalites also began attacking these relief camps targetting villagers, who were actively associated with the anti-naxal campaign.