RED TERROR | Govt left them to face Naxal wrath
AN EERIE silence prevails in the tiny forest village of Darbaguda. A day after 27 activists of the Salwa Judum (peace organisation) were abducted and 40 injured by Naxalites in Chhattisgarh?s South Bastar region, fingers are being raised at the state government for not providing adequate security to the tribals.Updated: Mar 02, 2006 13:04 IST
AN EERIE silence prevails in the tiny forest village of Darbaguda. A day after 27 activists of the Salwa Judum (peace organisation) were abducted and 40 injured by Naxalites in Chhattisgarh’s South Bastar region, fingers are being raised at the state government for not providing adequate security to the tribals.
“When Mahendra Karma, leader of the Opposition and veteran tribal Congress leader or Kedar Kashyap, a minister in the BJP-led state government or the chief minister himself visits to lead salwa judum (peace) processions against the Maoists, they are protected by a tight ring of heavily armed securitymen. No sooner they leave the salwa judum arena, their bodyguards go with them, leaving hundreds of poor tribal supporters to face the wrath of the Naxals.”
This was the reaction of observers, who say Tuesday’s massacre was the direct result of the state government not providing security escort to the salwa judum backers returning from a rally in Dornapal village near Konta in South Bastar’s Dantewada district. They also said the Naxals had learnt of the rally and were keeping a close watch.
No sooner than the rallyists returned in three trucks, they were ambushed with landmines in which one truck was blown up and the other two torched. “The Naxalites stabbed to death scores of youth, most of them who were in the age-group of 20, including a girl.”
There was talk of the Maoists abducting a large number of youth after asking them to get down from the ill-fated trucks. “The fate of these youngsters is not known and they could be executed by the Maoists for taking part in the Salwa Judum,” said another person on the condition of anonymity.
AGENCIES ADD: Security forces today intensified combing operations in the forests to flush out Naxalites who had triggered the blast.Elite National Security Guard (NSG) commandos, personnel from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Nagaland Police and Special Armed Force are engaged in operations to rescue the villagers, who were abducted by Maoists from Darbhagarh yesterday.
Inspector General of Police (Bastar range) M W Ansari and other senior police officials are supervising the operations. Two helicopters have also been pressed into service to provide ‘air cover’ to the security forces which have penetrated deep into the forests in search of the Maoists. Security forces have also sought help from their counterparts in Andhra Pradesh to step up vigil in the border areas in view of the possibility of extremists taking shelter in the neighbouring state.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh, accompanied by senior officials, has visited the injured at the hospital at Bhadrachalam in Andhra Pradesh where they where undergoing treatment. The injured were airlifted to Bhadrachalam hospital soon after the blast.
First Published: Mar 02, 2006 13:04 IST