The security of dozens of Salwa Judum men has been stepped up in Dantewada and Bijapur districts of Chhattisgarh after a key leader of the controversial civil militia movement was killed by Maoists, police said Monday.
"The security of Salwa Judum leaders has been scaled up, they have been asked to follow certain rules as Maoists have laid traps to kill them," a police official in Bastar region told IANS.
He said the move comes after rebels killed a key leader, Nandu Karma, in the wee hours of Sunday in a forested area of Bhairamgarh locality.
Nandu was considered the closest ally of former Lok Sabha member Mahendra Karma, the key man behind Salwa Judum, which was lauched in 2005 and grew under government patronage.
The movement was blamed for the escalation of violence in Bastar region and for victimising and alienating thousands of tribal villagers. It has almost fizzled out in the last two years.
Karma said: "Maoists have assigned a separate unit for killing Judum leaders and the rebels are getting regular success in wiping them out. Police must put a tight security cover around all Judum leaders."
He claimed that about 200 Judum leaders had been killed in the past two years and some 400 face the threat of being killed any moment.