The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rebels kill two, injure 18 in relief camp

Raipur, Aug. 26: Taking advantage of a major security breach, Maoists stormed into an unguarded relief camp in newly formed Bijapur district and killed two persons besides injuring 18 others last night.

The condition of 10 villagers is reported to be critical. A major incident was, however, averted as the persons, in search of whom the rebels struck, fled the camp and slipped into the forest soon after the attack.

According to sources, more than 300 armed rebels struck at the Patarpara relief camp, about 10 km from Bhairamgarh block in Bijapur at about 2.30am. The camp houses a population of about 1,000 from the four villages. The camp is one of the 24 relief camps set up by the district administration to rehabilitate people who fled their villages following rebel fear. Most of the men in the camp escaped into the neighbouring forests, sources said.

However, the rebels nabbed two persons and slit their throat. Both the villagers, identified as Hapma Badaldeo and Jaggu Kursa, died on the spot. The Maoists tied about 18 other villagers, including four women and bashed them with lathis. “They could have killed us. But the rebels spared all the 18 and left the spot after looting cattle, foodgrain and other items,” one of the injured admitted to Maharani hospital in Jagdalpur, about 300km from here, said.

The villagers said that there was no security in the camp and the villagers were at the mercy of the rebels for about an hour. Had the rebels gone wild, a major incident was not ruled out, as there was no defence equipment with us, the villagers said.

Bastar inspector-general of police R.K. Vij clarified that the place where the Maoists attacked was not a relief camp and that was the reason for zero-level security. “A day before, security personnel had visited the village as part of patrolling and the force reached the village within an hour of the attack,” he added.

The villagers, however, contradicted Vij’s explanation and said people from the four villages had built about 350 houses in the camp. “The villagers had submitted a number of applications to the district administration to provide security in the camp,” Janpad panchayat member Sahdev, who was also injured in the attack, said.

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