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Updated: July 8, 2010 22:44 IST

Two killed as Maoists open fire in Congress leader's house

Special Correspondent
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CHALLENGE TO INDIAN STATE: Dantewada in the stranglehold of Maoists. File Photo: PTI
CHALLENGE TO INDIAN STATE: Dantewada in the stranglehold of Maoists. File Photo: PTI

Gunmen broke into the house of a Congress leader at Nukalnar in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district on Thursday and opened fire killing two persons.

The victims were Avdesh Singh Gautam's brother-in-law Sanjay Singh and his clerk Dharmendra Lehari. Mr. Gautam's 12-year-old son and a police guard were injured in the attack that occurred at 1.45 a.m., sources said.

Photographs made available to The Hindu suggest that the two were probably shot in sleep.

Inspector-General of Bastar Range T.J. Longkumer confirmed the killings.

It is suspected that the attack was carried out by workers of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), and their target was Mr. Gautam, who is considered close to Congress leader Mahendra Karma. Mr. Karma launched the Salva Judum in 2005.

This is the second attempt on the life of Mr. Gautam, who is also a construction contractor.

While supporters of the Salva Judum describe it as an anti-Maoist movement that came into being spontaneously among Adivasis in south Bastar, its detractors term it a government-backed militia that has displaced thousands of Adivasis and made them targets in the battle between Maoists and security forces.

Thursday's killings come amidst a 48-hour ‘Bharat Bandh' called by the Maoists to condemn the July 2 killing of CPI (Maoist) Central Committee spokesperson Azad in Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh.

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