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Congress top brass descends in Raipur

Congress top brass descends in Raipur
New Delhi/Raipur: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said that violence will not shake state’s determination to fight terror perpetuated by Maoist cadres. Addressing party workers at Congress Bhawan in Raipur, Singh said, ‘We will pursue the perpetrators of this crime with urgency and I can assure the nation that the government is committed to bringing them to justice. Our leaders... have sacrificed their lives. Our country will never bow down before Naxalism.’

Accompanied by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, the prime minister arrived in Raipur for a day’s visit following the catastrophic attack on Chattisgarh state Congress leadership in Sukma district of terror-infested Bastar region of south Chattisgarh, which left several dead including former MP Mahendra Karma, Chattisgarh Congress president Nand Kumar Patel, his son Dinesh and critically injuring several including former Union Minister Vidya Charan Shukla, who has been brought to the Capital for treatment.

Around 250 naxalites are believed to have carried out the killings of 27 people including Congress leaders. The naxalites, suspected to be members of the Dhand Karineya Special Zonal Committee (DKSZC), after triggering a blast, stopped the convoy and started shouting names of people on their hit list which included former Home Minister of the state Mahendra Karma, architect of Salwa Judam, a people’s movement against naxalism, official sources said.

Bullet-riddled bodies of abducted Patel, his son and eight others, mainly security personnel, were found on Sunday. The bodies were recovered from Jiram valley in Bastar division, police said. The toll in Saturday’s attack has risen to 27.

Expressing outrage at the incident, Sonia Gandhi said, ‘This is a cowardly act on the part of Maoists. It is not an attack on Congress or its leaders, but an attack on democratic values.’ Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who arrived in Raipur in the wee hours, exhorted party workers to ‘not fear from such an attack and continue to move forward.’ Congress campaign, which came under Maoist attack, is targeted at thwarting the ultra-call to boycott upcoming polls.

Agitated Congress workers stopped movement of trains in Raigarh, the home district of state Congress chief Nand Kumar Patel, who was killed in the attack. They also ransacked the PWD rest house of Kharsiya, the native place of Patel, police said.

Security has been stepped up at the Congress Bhavan in Raipur and other vital installations in the state. The Centre has rushed more than 600 CRPF personnel, including elite CoBRA anti-Maoist commandos, to sanitise and take control of the Naxal attack site in Chhattisgarh.

Shocked by the Naxal attack, President Pranab Mukherjee said the nation will neither be overawed nor intimidated by such actions. The Prime Minister announced Rs 5 lakh each as ex-gratia relief from the National Relief Fund for families of those killed and Rs 50,000 each for those injured.
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