Attack revenge for Salwa Judum, Operation Green Hunt: Maoists
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Maoists say target was Karma, demand pullout of forces
Claiming responsibility for Saturday's attack on the Congress convoy in Bastar which claimed 24 lives, the CPI (Maoist) said on Tuesday that the killing of senior party leaders was the "necessary revenge against the UPA's fascist Operation Green Hunt, which is being run in connivance with several state governments".
"The primary aim behind this attack was to kill Mahendra Karma and other reactionary Congress leaders. During the two-hour long gunbattle between guerrillas of CPI (Maoist) and security forces, some innocent people and low-level Congress workers were killed. They were not our enemies but they lost their lives. We express regret over their death and offer our condolence to the bereaved families," said a four-page statement sent to BBC, signed by Gudsa Usendi, spokesperson of the Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee.
"Salwa Judum has become a bane for people living in Bastar region. A lot of atrocities were carried out against innocent men and women in the name of this movement... Karma himself led some of the movements of Salwa Judum in villages... Through this attack, we have taken revenge on behalf of people who were made to suffer in the name of Salwa Judum," it said.
Claiming that "Karma, who has been called a tribal leader, is from a feudal family of Manjhi caste and his family has been traditional oppressors of the tribals," the CPI (Maoist) said that his death "has created a festive atmosphere in Bastar".
Stating that PCC chief Nand Kumar Patel, who was among those killed in the attack, was at the "forefront of atrocities on people" when he was the state home minister, the Maoists said "CRPF forces entered Chhattisgarh during his tenure".
The statement further described former union minister V C Shukla, who was injured in the attack, as the "enemy of the people". "He held several important union ministries, including home, and actively worked as a loyal representative of imperialists, capitalists and landlords," it said.