Maoists attack Congress' 'yatra', kill Mahendra Karma, injure V C Shukla

Chhattisgarh Attack

Striking in a big way, heavily-armed Maoists today shot dead senior Congress leader Mahendra Karma and injured former Union minister V C Shukla who is said to be critical having having been shot three times in an ambush in a dense forest in Chhattisgarh's Jagdalpur district.

The Maoists also kidnapped PCC chief Nand Kumar Patel and his son Dinesh after attacking a convoy of Congress leaders in Darba Gati Valley, police said.

A former Congress MLA from Rajnandgaon Udya Mudaliyar was also shot dead and prominent woman tribal leader Phulo Devi Netam from Bastar, was wounded by the Maoists who attacked the convoy at around 1730 hours when they were returning from the party's 'Parivartan' rally.

There were unconfirmed reports of some policemen and other Congress activists being killed in the attack.

Karma, a former Home Minister who was a guiding force behind 'Salwa Judum' (anti-Naxal operation by vigilante groups), was surrounded by about 100 to 150 Maoists who peppered his body with bullets.

The Maoists had put up road blocks by felling trees before triggering a landmine blast that hit one of the vehicles in the convoy and thereafter opening fire indiscriminately, police sources said.

After carrying out the attack, the ultras set nearby trees on fire.

The Personal Security Officers of the Congress leaders returned the fire but soon ran out of bullets.

The Maoist attack took place in a dense forest near National Highway 202 connecting Chattisgarh with Naxal-hit Bhadrachalam district in adjacent Andhra Pradesh.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called Chief Minister Raman Singh and asked him about what help he needs to deal with the situation.

PM has also tasked the NSA to ascertain what kind of assistance the state needs to deal with the attack and its aftermath.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appeals to attackers to release at the earliest all those who may have been abducted in Chhattisgarh.

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