Naxals were looking for Patel, Karma: Eyewitness
A Congress leader claimed the ambush specifically targeted state Congress chief Nand Kumar Patel and senior leader Mahendra Karma both of whom died.
Raipur: A Congress leader, who was with former Union Minister Vidyacharan Shukla during the Naxal attack in Chhattisgarh yesterday, on Sunday claimed the ambush specifically targeted state Congress chief Nand Kumar Patel and senior leader Mahendra Karma both of whom died.
"Both Patel and Karma were the target of Naxals," said Daulat Rohra, Congress leader and a close aide of Shukla, here. Shukla himself is critically injured and being treated in a hospital in Gurgaon.
Rohra, who was travelling in an SUV with Shukla and his Personal Security Officer Praphulla Sharma, said Naxals had already opened fire when the convoy of Congress leaders reached Jiram valley at about 4 pm. Shukla told others, including the driver, to crouch but he himself was hit by four bullets.
"Suddenly, firing stopped and ultras approached the vehicles asking for Nand Kumar Patel and Mahendra Karma," Rohra said.
"They started searching every vehicle, calling out the names of Patel and Karma, asking them to step out", he added.
At this point, former MLA Uday Mudaliyar and several other leaders and policemen were killed in gunfire.
"One by one, they dragged everyone out of the vehicles.
One group of Naxals took away Patel, his son Dinesh Patel and Dantewada MLA Kawasi Lakhma some distance into the jungle but they released Lakhma later.
They also started asking for Mahendra Karma`s son but when Karma himself came out of group and revealed his identity they took him aside and shot him dead, pumping in about 50 rounds, according to Rohra.
Afterwards, Naxals fled into forests shouting the slogan `Lal Salaam`, he said.