“I have spoken to the Chief Minister of the state and urged him to provide all possible assistance to those who have been injured and to ensure the security and safety of those who have been abducted,” said Singh who also had a meeting with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and party vice president Rahul Gandhi on the situation arising out of the Naxal attack.
Sonia Gandhi condemned the attack as “despicable”. “We are shocked, astounded and pained by the attack on our colleagues,” she said.
Condemning the attack, the BJP said all should rise above party politics to fight terror with a heavy hand. NDA working chairperson L K Advani called up Manmohan Singh to express his concern over the attack.
The Centre rushed more than 600 CRPF personnel, including elite CoBRA anti-Maoist commandos, to sanitise and take control of the Naxal attack site in Chhattisgarh.
A three-day state mourning has been declared from Sunday and all those who died in the attack will be given a state funeral.
Sources said the assault began with a powerful landmine blast targeting a bridge.
Ultras then surrounded the convoy, throwing hand grenades and firing indiscriminately.
Around 150-200 naxalites armed with explosives and sophisticated weapons were involved in the ambush.
It is learnt there was a serious security breach as Karma was Z plus protectee. At least 20 injured local Congress leaders were admitted to Jagdalpur Maharani Hospital, the sources added.
The Home Ministry has asked for a detailed report on the Naxal attack from state government. A team of Union home ministry will also reach Jagdalpur on Sunday to take stock of the situation.
A tribal leader from Bastar, Karma was on the hit list of naxals for strongly advocating Salwa judum (Civil Vigilante group) and raising an armed tribal group to fight ultras. Karma and his family members were repeatedly targeted by naxaltes.
He had survived over a dozen attacks in the last seven years. In 2005, approximately 200 armed naxals killed Suku Karma brother of Mahendra Karma in Dantewada.
In another attack in 2009, ultra’s quick action group killed Cahnnu Karma, his close relative.
Though the controversial group was disbanded by apex court in 2011, Karma remained a target of Naxal groups.