A member of India’s ruling Party and senior politician was kidnapped and then killed in an ambush carried out by Maoist insurgents that left 25 dead.
It is estimated that nearly 300 Maoist guerrillas, called Naxalites, attacked a convoy carrying senior figures in Congress on Saturday afternoon. The convoy was returning from a political rally held in Chhattisgarh, one of the poorest states in India and the center for Maoist insurgency.
The convoy, which consisted of 40 vehicles, was heavily guarded. However, when it entered an area dense in forest, the guerrillas blocked the road with fallen trees.
A landmine was then detonated as the attack ripped into the vehicles with gunfire for high ground surrounding the area. The attack went on for over an hour and a half.
Included in the dead were Mahendra Karma and VC Shukla, two local leaders in Congress. Shukla was formerly the national cabinet minister. Nand Kumar Patel, the Congress state leader from Chhattisgarh was originally reported as missing and was presumed kidnapped.
On Sunday morning, authorities said that Patel’s body and that of his son were found lifeless near the attack scene.
The size and force of the attack on the multi-vehicle convoy protected by the best security in India caused shock at the political level and was denounced by Congress as a direct attack against the country’s democracy.
Dr. Manmohan Singh the prime minister and Sonia Gandhi, the President of the Congress Party visited those injured and denounced the deadly ambush as a cowardly act against the democratic values of India.
The rebellion by Maoists in the southeastern states of India has gained momentum of late. It first started in the country in 1967.