The Communist Party of India (Maoist) has said the “goal” of Saturday’s ambush was to only “eliminate” Congress leader Mahendra Karma and other Congress leaders, and “regretted” the death of “innocents,” even while congratulating the fighters of the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) on the ambush.
In the attack on a motorcade of Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar district, 27 people, including Pradesh Congress Committee president Nand Kumar Patel, his son Dinesh, and the former MLA, Uday Mudaliyar, were killed and 32 injured.
In a press release on Tuesday, the outlawed party identified Patel, Karma and Vidya Charan Shukla (who was seriously injured) as “people’s enemy.”
The three-page statement, written separately in Telugu, Hindi and English, was signed by party spokesperson in Chhattisgarh Gudsa Usendi. It identified Karma, who launched Salwa Judum to take on Maoists, as the main target, calling him a “notorious tyrant” and “murderer” and analysing his activities in the most acerbic language. It held him responsible for a series of “anti-tribal” campaigns, charging him with foiling a massive movement in 1996 to demand “implementation of the Sixth Schedule” of the Constitution. “Mahendra Karma took a bitter stand against that movement” as a “representative of the selfish, urban business people, who…accumulated massive wealth,” it said.
The CPI(Maoist) blamed Karma also for the large-scale violence against tribal people during the Salwa Judum (peace march). “…we have avenged over a thousand Adivasis who were brutally murdered by Salwa Judum goons and the government’s armed forces,” it said.
Interestingly, while discussing corruption charges against Karma, the CPI (Maoist) has cited government reports. In 1999, Karma’s name was linked to a big timber scam called ‘Malik Makbuja.’ “A Lokayukta report revealed that during 1992-96, Karma, hand in glove with timber black-marketers, made millions of rupees by cheating Adivasi people,” the release said.
Karma had denied these allegations in separate interviews to this correspondent over the past few years.
The Maoists said Patel was killed for deployment of paramilitary forces when he was Home Minister, and Mr. Shukla had acted as “a people’s enemy” by working as a “loyal servant of imperialists.”
Mr. Usendi apologised for the death of “innocent people” in the attack.
“During this massive attack, some innocent people and some lower-level Congress activists, who were, in fact, not our enemies, were also killed... The Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) regrets this and expresses condolences and sympathies to the families.”
The release said Congress leaders who visited the State after the ambush did not have any “moral right” to discuss democracy. “… eight people, including three children, were killed by police and paramilitary forces on May 17 in Bijapur district. Why none of them thought of any democratic values at that time?” Mr. Usendi asked, pointing to more such incidents.
The release appealed to “people” to call off Operation Green Hunt, repeal various special Acts and “cancel” all memoranda of understanding “with corporates to exploit natural resources.”
Security officials are analysing the release mailed to journalists and trying to identify its point of origin. Apparently, the release was sent from a mobile phone, through a private telecommunication network.
Meanwhile, security for Karma’s family has been upgraded after his son Chabindra alleged that Maoists had announced that they would “annihilate the family within a week,” according to sources.