The audacious assault carried out by Maoists on Congress workers in Chhattisgarh appears to be the first major organised attack on the leadership of a political party by ultras.
This is the assessment of several Congress leaders, including Union Ministers, with AICC General Secretary B K Hari Prasad dubbing yesterday’s attack as a first major incident after the assassination ofRajiv Gandhi by the LTTE in Tamil Nadu on May 21, 1991. Hari Prasad is in-charge of the affairs of Congress in Chhattisgarh.
While party chief Sonia Gandhi hailed the courage and bravery of the Congress leaders from the state, Union Minister for Tribal Affairs V Kishore Chandra Deo said the incident showed that the Maoists, who claim to be champions of the cause of tribals, have “gone off track.”
Deo, who hails from Andhra Pradesh, said the Naxalites there had killed Madhav Reddy, Home Minister in Chandrababu Naidu’s erstwhile government, over a decade back and had even attempted to assassinate Chandrababu near Tirupati.
He, however, felt the brazen attack in Chhattisgarh was the first of its kind since independence.
“Ultimately tribals will suffer by this kind of action by the Maoists. Development of their area will go back for two-three decades,” he told PTI, adding that an incident like this will automatically be responded in an “appropriate manner.”
It is an “affront” to the democratic system and should be dealt with as such, he said.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said, “What has happened needs to be condemned in the strongest possible terms. The Indian National Congress has been on the frontlines of the fight against terrorists in Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir as well as the Northeast. Terrorists cannot cow us down.
“Our hearts and minds are with the near and dear ones of those who have been killed or injured in this outrage. While we do not want to politicise this incident, but it requires a detailed inquiry to establish the facts,” he said.