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Maoists threaten minister to pay Rs 1 million

Maoist rebels in Chhattisgarh have warned a senior minister that they will behead him if he fails to pay them Rs 1 million.

india Updated: Apr 02, 2006 17:10 IST

Maoist rebels in Chhattisgarh have warned a senior minister that they will behead him if he fails to pay them Rs 1 million.

The shocked minister, Nankiram Kanwar, who holds the agriculture and food and civil supplies portfolios, has sought extra police protection.

He said he "would prefer to die than honour the diktat of the rebels".

Of the 13 states affected by violence perpetrated by left wing guerrillas, Chhattisgarh has been the hardest hit.

It was the focus of a meeting called by the central government in Delhi on Friday to discuss steps to quell the activities of Maoists.

"I received a letter recently at my Raipur residence written in red ink and bearing the signature of a commander of the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC), who asked me to pay Rs 10 lakhs failing which I would be beheaded," Kanwar said on Sunday.

The letter said the minister's head would be cut off and hung from a tree if he failed to pay up.

Kanwar represents the Rampur assembly seat in Korba district that is reserved for scheduled tribe candidates.

He said he had shown letter to Chief Minister Raman Singh and Home Minister Ramvichar Netam and sought extra police protection.

"It's very serious. The Naxals are seeking money from a minister, and I have instructed officials to probe the matter and throw a security cordon around Kanwar," Home Minister Netam said.

Chhattisgarh has witnessed an unprecedented rise in Maoist violence in recent months.

Over 100 people, a majority of them civilians, have died in Maoist attacks in the state since January 1.

The Maoists, who operate out of jungle bases in 13 states, claim they are fighting for the rights of poor peasants and landless labourers.