Chhattisgarh on top alert after Naxal attack

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 18, 2010 - 20:23

Raipur: A day after the killing of 35 bus
passengers by Naxalites, Chhattisgarh was on high alert as
security forces today intensified combing operations in the
affected Dantewada region where many panic-stricken bus
operators were refusing to ply their vehicles.

Amidst heart-rending scenes, near and dear ones of the
victims, who included 14 special police officers, carried out
the last rites of the bodies, some of whom were badly
mutilated.

Chhattisgarh Governor Shekhar Dutt, Chief Minister
Raman Singh, Home Minister Nankiram Kanwar and Director
General of Police Viswa Ranjan visited Sukma, 450 kms from
here, the place where the Maoists triggered a landmine to blow
up the bus. They paid their last respect to the victims.

The state, where 75 CRPF men and a local policeman
were killed in a Naxal attack on April 6, was on top alert in
the wake of the fresh killings and a call by the ultras for a
two-day bandh in Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Orissa, Jharkhand and
West Bengal from today to protest the operations against them
by the security forces, officials said.

Paramilitary and state police forces intensified
combing operations in the Dantewada region, which had been
facing the brunt of the Naxal strikes, they said.

The Centre had yesterday asked the five state to
tighten security and take maximum precautions during the
bandh. As part of the precautionary measures, the railways
stepped up vigil across its network and cancelled some trains
in addition to imposing speed restrictions for night travel.

Of the 35 killed, 21 were civilians. The condition of
five among the 27 injured is critical, the officials said.

With the Naxals having earlier warned private vehicles
against accommodating security forces, panic-stricken private
bus operators in the area were today refusing to take out
their vehicles.

Meanwhile, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram made a
fresh officer of talks with the Naxals if they "suspend"
violence even for 72 hours.

The Chhattisgarh Chief Minister told reporters in
Sukma that the Naxalites killed the bus passengers in
retaliation to the operations launched by the security forces
against them.

PTI

First Published: Tuesday, May 18, 2010 - 20:23
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