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25 dead in Maoist attack in India
May 26, 2013, 7:41 am

32 people have been injured in the attack [Xinhua]

32 people have been injured in the attack [Xinhua]

The death toll in a lethal Maoist attack on a convoy of leaders in Chhattisgarh of the governing Indian political party Congress has climbed to 25, police sources said.

Thirty two people have been injured in the attack, senior Indian police official of the state, Ram Niwas said on Sunday.

Officials say the convoy was ambushed in the Sukma area, about 215 miles south of the capital city of Raipur.

The Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh and the president of the Congress party Sonia Gandhi have visited the spot and met the victims of the terrorist attacks.

The prime minister announced an ex gratia relief of Rs 5 lacs from the PM’s National Relief Fund to the families of those who have lost their lives.

Victims of yesterday’s attack told the Indian prime minister that the attack is “a black day for democracy”.

Singh had earlier described the naxals as India’s biggest internal security threat.

These rebels are now present in 20 of India’s 28 states and have thousands of fighters, according to the Indian home ministry.

The Indian government has rushed additional police forces, including elite CoBRA anti-Maoist commandos, to sanitise and take control of the attack site in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh.

Security officials have also launched search and rescue operations as it is suspected that some people may be present in nearby jungles.

The Communist Party of India (CPI) on Sunday condemned the killings, saying that violence and killings do not have a place in democracy.

“We firmly disapprove the violence and killings to gain political power in a democratic country,” CPI national secretary D Raja said.

Congress leader Mahendra Karma who was the brain behind Salwa Judum – an anti-naxal movement by vigilante militia, started in 2006, was also killed in the attack.

The controversial Salwa Judum movement has been accused of atrocities against tribals.

The Maoist rebels, known as Naxalites, have been fighting the federal and provincial governments for more than four decades, demanding land and jobs for tenant farmers and the poor.

The rebels are inspired by Chinese Communist revolutionary leader Mao Zedong.

With inputs from Agencies

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