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Naxals kill 13 villagers in C'garh, Rs 2 lakh ex-gratia to relatives

Written by: Staff
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Jagdalpur, Mar 25 (UNI) In stepped-up hostilities, 13 villagers were killed and four injured early today in a landmine blast triggered by CPI(Maoist) naxalites targeting a jeep at Godha village, about 12 km from Pakhanjur, in Kanker district of Chhattisgarh.

The attack comes nearly a month after worst ever naxal violence in the state when two trucks carrying tribals were ambushed by the ultras in Dantewada district killing 26 villagers and injuring over 50 others.

Kanker District Superintendent of Police Pradeep Gupta said that in today's incident, bodies of the victims, torn into pieces, were lying scattered at the blast site. Three seriously injured were referred to the medical college hospital at the state capital, Raipur.

Bastar Range Inspector General of Police M W Ansari told UNI that the blast seemed to be aimed at terrorising villagers to ensure that the anti-naxal campaign 'Salwa Judum', now focussed in Dantewada district, did not spread to other areas of Bastar region.

Meanwhile, police sources said the victims, mostly local traders, were returning to Pakhanjur after attending a nearby weekly market when the naxalites blew up the jeep carrying about 18 people.

Mr Ansari said para-military forces had been sent to carry out combing operations in the nearby forests.

Meanwhile, State Home Minister Ramvichar Netam visited the spot and announced Rs 2 lakh ex-gratia for the family members of each deceased besides Rs 10,000 each for performing last rites.

Earlier, Mr Netam, who came along with Director General of Police O P Rathore, had to confront opposition from villagers, who raised slogans against the government.

Communist Party of India (Maoist) cadres had 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 abandoned their homes and took shelter in the relief camps opened by the state government.

Subsequently, the naxalites also began attacking these relief camps targeting villagers, who were actively associated in the 'Salwa Judum' campaign.

The deceased were identified as Vipuldas (24), Manish Majumdar (25), Rafiq Khan (25), Tapman Majumdar (28), Govind Chand (28), Chintaram Rajag (38), Kalachand (38), Kiran Bagchi (40), Arun Birpal (42), Vishnu Dev (45), Pradeep Shah (52), Vipul Dutt (53) and Sudhanshu Kudu (60).

UNI TEAM-PS PK KN2003

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