Bangalore, May 28 (IANS) Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) V. Narayanasamy Tuesday blamed the Chhattisgarh government for the massacre of 28 people in an attack by Maoist rebels on a Congress convoy in Sukma district last week.
“I squarely blame the Chhattisgarh government and its chief minister (Raman Singh) for the gruesome killing of 28 Congress leaders. It is purely the failure of the district (Sukma) administration in not protecting our leaders, who had every right to canvass for the party in the district even if it is a Maoist-affected area,” Narayanasamy told reporters on the margins of the Indian space agency’s event here.
Besides Congress tribal leader from south Chhattisgarh Mahendra Karma, who founded Salwa Judam to combat the Maoists, party’s state unit president Nand Kumar Patel, his son and 25 party leaders and cadres were killed in an ambush at Darbha in the hilly tract between Jagdalpur and Sukma Saturday.
The minister said when Raman Singh went on campaign to any district across the state, he was provided about 4,000 security men.
The central government had provided weapons and helicopters and 54 battalions of central forces to the state.
“The Chhattisgarh unit of the Congress had given information to the state government that its leaders and cadres were going on a parivartan yatra to Jagdalpur for campaigning. Yet adequate security was not provided. Intelligence department also told the state government that they (Maoists) were planning an attack in a big way. But the state government ignored the alert,” Narayanasamy said.
Refuting reports that there was a lack of coordination between the party and the state government on the movement of its leaders, the minister said the district administration had given permission for the yatra after the party’s state unit intimated it about the event.
“Just as it was the duty of the Congress leaders to inform the administration that they were going on a yatra, it was the duty of the state government to act on it and protect them. Even the change of route was communicated to the district administration. To claim that there was no information about the route change is an excuse. This is the double standard of the BJP government in Chhattisagarh,” Narayanasamy said.
Noting that there was no difference between terrorism and Maoism and both had to be put on the same pedestal, the minister said they (Maoists) were grabbing the properties of the people, getting modern weapons, extorting money from mine owners and contractors, terrorising people and not allowing the administration to function.
“Two years ago, when I was the Congress general secretary and in-charge of the party affairs in Chhattisgarh, I toured all districts…even at that time, no proper security was provided by the state government for our party’s public meeting,” Narayanasamy said.
Lashing out at activists and NGOs for supporting the Maoist movement, Narayanasamy hoped they would have learnt a lesson from the gruesome act.
“By propagating the Maoist ideology and supporting them, the so-called NGOs and activists are behaving in an anti-national way and doing disservice to the country. This is evident from the incident that took place in Chhattisgarh,” he said.
The central minister was on a day’s visit to this tech hub to unveil the navigation centre of the state-run Indian space agency at Byalalu, about 40 km from the city centre, for the upcoming Indian regional navigation satellite system.