500 rebels killed in two years, admit Chhattisgarh Maoists

500 rebels killed in two years, admit Chhattisgarh Maoists

RAIPUR: Maoists in Chhattisgarh have admitted that 500 of their rebels have been killed by cadres of anti-Maoist militia Salwa Judum movement in the last two years, a police official said on Tuesday.

The admission came through leaflets and posters found by police in Dantewada district, the worst hit by Maoist insurgency in Chhattisgarh.

“We recovered dozens of leaflets and posters in which Maoists said they had lost 500 fighters in the past two years,” Sant Kumar Paswan, Chhattisgarh’s acting director general of police, said.

He said the Maoists described their slain comrades as “martyrs” and have vowed to take “revenge” in the leaflets found in Bailadila hills, known to have one of the finest quality iron ore stocks.

National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC), the largest public sector iron ore producer and exporter, has major mining facilities in Bailadila.

Last week, the rebels had set fire to a conveyor belt of NMDC, causing losses worth million of rupees to the firm.

“Maoists said they recently blasted power transmission towers to cause blackouts in four districts – Bastar, Dantewada, Narayanpur and Bijapur – as part of their revenge,” a police official said.

The anti-Maoist Salwa Judum (Campaign for peace) movement was started by tribals in June 2005 and was later supported by the state government.

Human rights groups say the government is endangering the lives of civilians and special police officers (SPOs) by sponsoring the Salwa Judum and putting them in the line of fire.

Nearly 50,000 tribals have deserted their forest villages in the state after the government-sponsored movement was launched due to threats from Maoists.

TOI

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