Maoist-related violence in Chhattisgarh continued unabated with guerrillas killing three people in Dantewada district, hours after they gunned down seven tribals and kidnapped 25 people in the same area.
In fresh violence, Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) militants late on Tuesday attacked supporters of the anti-Maoist movement in the state in two separate incidents.
While a special police officer (SPO) and a village representative were beaten to death at Kirandul, 480 km from Raipur, another person was shot dead in the Bijapur area.
Hours before that on Tuesday morning, guerrillas killed seven tribals when they refused to accompany them to raid a camp set up by the government. They also took 25 villagers hostage, but let them off a few hours later in the forests of Konta.
About 50,000 tribals have deserted their native villages in Dantewada since the launch of anti-Maoist movement Salwa Judum (Campaign for Peace) last year and have been living in over a dozen poorly protected relief camps.
SPOs have been recruited from local tribes to act as informers and assistants to the main police force and are paid a small salary. A few have been given weapons and training, but most are armed only with bows and arrows.
"Rebels have become relentless and are specifically targeting unarmed civilians to vent their frustration for consistently losing to police and paramilitary troopers," Bastar Range Inspector General of Police TJ Longkumer said.
"We have 10 civilian casualties in the last 24 hours," the officer added.
The Bastar region includes the violence-racked Dantewada district, one of the worst hit by Maoist violence where the Indian government has deployed thousands of paramilitary troopers.
Police say at least 180 civilians have been killed in Chhattisgarh this year.