Staff Reporter

14 picked up from border villages; escape attempt proves fatal for two

BHADRACHALAM: Salva-Judum activists, who have intensified anti- Maoist campaign in south Bastar, have entered tribal villages of Bhadrachalm division in pursuit of supporters of naxalites. They are on the lookout for militants and sangham members who were responsible for the landmine blast that left as many as 27 persons dead at Erraboru village in Kunta division of Chhattisgarh recently.

Maoist supporters, fearing reprisals, reportedly sneaked into Khammam villages. A group of Salva-Judum activists reached Charla in Bhadrachalam division and went on a thorough search for Sangham members, Maoist supporters and militants in border villages.

They picked up 14 persons, who allegedly participated in the operation, and bundled them into their vehicle to take them back to Chhattisgarh. But three of them jumped out of the moving vehicle.

One of them managed to escape into the forest near R. Kothagudem village while the other two -- Komaram Penta and Madakm Ramu -- received multiple injuries. They succumbed to injuries in a local hospital late in the evening.

The anti-Maoist campaign gained momentum in the Charla and Dummugudem areas where Salva-Judum activists have undertaken search operations with the tacit approval of the local police.

The Maoists are also said to be out to protect their supporters. The situation is tense in tribal villages because of the confrontation between the two sides.

Meanwhile, CPI (Maoist) Khammam district secretary Jagadish asked Salva-Judum activists to stop their search operations and leave the district forthwith.

In a statement issued here, he said Salva-Judum activists were trying to whisk away the tribals who had taken shelter in the area because of the `reign of terror' unleashed by anti-Maoist campaigners in Chhattisgarh.

Two tribals killed

Two tribals were found dead near Dhodara village, four km from Kunta, on Saturday. They were suspected to be sangham members affiliated to the village-level organisation floated by the Maoists in Bastar. Their murder was blamed on activists of the anti-Maoist campaign.

6 policemen kidnapped

The Maoists kidnapped six policemen -- four constables and two head constables -- near Chintauppa in Dantewada district on Sunday. A group of naxalites stopped a bus and forced the police party to get down.

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