RAIPUR: India’s Maoists claimed responsibility on Tuesday for an attack that killed 24 people, saying local political leaders were targeted for their role in police offensives against the rebels.
The bloody ambush on Saturday, the deadliest attack in three years, was to avenge killings by security forces during the long-running conflict in the central state of Chhattisgarh, said the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist).
“We have taken revenge for the killing of over a thousand people by the hands of Salwa Judum goons and government security forces,” the group said in a four-page statement sent to the British Broadcasting Corp. broadcas-ter’s Hindi service.
Among those targeted in the attack was former state home minister Mahendra Karma, the statement said, who set up a controversial anti-Maoist militia group in 2005 called the Salwa Judum.
Hundreds of heavily armed rebels ambushed a convoy carrying local leaders of India’s governing Congress party as it traveled through the forested Sukma area, about 345 kilometers rom the state capital Raipur.