Naxals slay 17 including Babulal Marandi's son

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Giridih/Ranchi, Oct 27 (UNI) At least 17 people, including former chief minister Babulal Marandi's son Anup, were killed when armed extremists fired indiscriminately on scores of people watching a cultural function in Chalkhari village of Giridih district of Jharkhand early today.

Four others, including two women, were also injured in the attack.

''Militants having no human feeling carried out the ghastly act out of frustration as the state government has stepped up counter-insurgency operations in recent months arresting a large number of top rung cadres,'' Chief Minister Madhu Koda told reporters in Ranchi.

He held a high-level emergency meeting in Ranchi this morning to assess the situation and said combing operation was underway in the district and border areas.

Senior police spokesperson R K Mullick said five companies of para-military force from the state and two other companies from Bihar were specially deployed for combing operation. Besides, personnel of CRPF, Special Task Force and CISF had been rushed to the site, Mr Mullick added.

Superintendent of Police Arun Kumar said at Giridih that about 35 ultras, armed with sophisticated weapons, swooped on the villagers present at the function in the wee hours first exploding bombs and then firing indiscriminately.

''While 14 people were killed on the spot, three succumbed to injuries later,'' police said.

Anup's brother Munnilal, who was instrumental in launching a campaign against insurgency, escaped with injuries.

Meanwhile, Mr Marandi's party, Jharkhand Vikash Morcha, has called a state-wide bandh tomorrow protesting the killing.

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