While claiming responsibility for the ghastly Saturday attack on a Congress convoy in Chattisgarh, DSZC CPI (Maoists) spokesperson Gudsa Usendi disclosed that Salwa Judum founder Mahendra Karma, former union minister V C Shukla and Congress State president Nandkumar Patel were targeted to avenge the alleged oppression of the State’s poor people.
“The purpose of the attack was to punish Mahendra Karma, who had launched the anti-Naxal armed movement (Salwa Judum) and some other Congress leaders involved in tribal’s oppression,” Usendi said in a statement issued on Monday.
The statement came just hours before Union Home Secretary R K Singh landed in Raipur, with senior security and intelligence officials, to assess the ground situation in the wake of Saturday’s attack. Although Singh called for an intense Naxal offensive in affected regions, the Maoists’ spokesperson, in his letter, strongly demanded the withdrawal of Operation Green Hunt (that targets Naxals) and Central paramilitary forces deployed in affected areas.
Usendi said the Salwa Judum (the armed civil vigilante group) was an oppressive programme launched against innocent tribals. More than a thousand poor tribals were killed and 640 villages destroyed by the civil vigilante group, Usendi’s statement charged. The statement further said that Karma was also responsible for the displacement of more than 2 lakh tribals and the rape of hundreds of tribal women. Usendi said the torture inflicted on the poor people of Bastar by the Salwa Judum was unparalleled in history.
“Through this attack, we have taken revenge on behalf of people,” Usendi’s letter said. The statement accused Karma and his family of exploiting the poor, noting that the Salwa Judum founder, who called himself a tribal leader, in fact belonged to a feudal family of the Manjhi caste, which has been a traditional oppressor of tribals. Blaming Nandkumar Patel for deployment of Central security forces in Bastar, Usendi said the Congress president tried to exploit poor tribals using paramilitary forces.
V C Shukla was also accused of playing a key role in atrocities against the poor people of Chhattisgarh.