The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Lynch after carnage
Charred cattle in the camp that was attacked. Telegraph picture

Dantewada, July 18: The survivors of yesterday’s Maoist massacre in Chhattisgarh turned violent, lynching three alleged Maoist sympathisers, stoning the state home minister’s helicopter and insulting the leader of the Opposition.

The three people, from a neighbouring village, had come to the Errabore “relief camp” to place kafans (white cloth) on the 26 dead last evening when they were beaten to death in front of police officers and political leaders.

Yesterday, Maoists had attacked the state-sponsored “safe camp” of some 4,000 villagers opposed to them, killing 26 and kidnapping 50.

Inmates of the camp alleged that Maoist sympathisers from nearby villages also took part in the carnage. The three lynched persons were victims of this suspicion.

Bodies of six of the 50 abducted people were found in the nearby forest this morning, taking the toll in the camp raid to 32. The rest of the hostages were freed.

At Errabore, the camp inmates’ fury didn’t spare leader of the Opposition Mahendra Karma when he leant over to place a kafan on a body.

“You just look at the bodies. We’ll cover them with the kafan,” a villager told the Congress leader who heads the Salwa Judum, a state-managed people’s campaign against the Maoists.

When home minister Ramvichar Netam arrived, he was surrounded by the inmates who lost their temper when he suggested they could leave the camp and return home.

As Netam’s chopper took off, a hail of stones forced it to land again. The minister climbed out only to face another round of outburst till the police broke up the mob.

The government had set up the “relief camps” after thousands of villagers began fleeing their homes from a Maoist backlash against suspected Salwa Judum participants. The 27 camps now shelter about 50,000 people.

It was one such camp in Errabore in Dantewada district, about 500 km south of capital Raipur, that the Maoists had attacked in the small hours of Monday.

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