Panchayat secretary killed in Maoist firing

Raipur: A panchayat secretary was killed and four others, including a Congress worker, were injured in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh when Maoist ultras fired on the jeep they were travelling in, police officials said on Thursday.

District Superintendent of Police Abhishek Sandilya said on Thursday that “Maoist guerrillas last (Wednesday) evening attacked the jeep in which the panchayat secretary was travelling, along with four others” in Sukma district under Konta police station limits.

While the panchayat secretary of Golapalli, Markam Somaru, was killed on the spot, his four co-travellers suffered gunshots.

Congress worker G Sai Reddy, driver Sodi Dalla, helper Betty Satyam and one other man are being treated at Konta government hospital. “The injured are stated to be out of danger,” Sandilya said.

The newly-carved out Sukma district, earlier part of Dantewada district, is considered a hotbed of Maoist activity. Insurgents virtually run a parallel government here. In May this year, district collector Alex Paul Menon was abducted by ultras from a public meeting.

Police sources said the panchayat secretary and others were returning after attending a function at the house of district panchayat vice president Boddu Raja. Around 3 pm, their vehicle reached near village Asirguda, about 30 km from the district headquarters, where Maoists hiding near the road started firing indiscriminately.

Sub Divisional Police Officer (SDOP) of Dornapal JP Badhai said that minutes before the jeep was attacked, the sarpanch of Golapalli panchayat, Sonam Nagesh, a former leader of Salwa Judum, along with supporters, passed the site in a jeep. However, that jeep sped past, and the guerrillas could not fire at a vehicle travelling at such speed.

Meanwhile, sources said the firing was a case of mistaken identity. They said the Maoists thought that the jeep was carrying security forces.

Troopers of the Central Reserve Police Force had destroyed a camp of Maoists in the area Tuesday and recovered 20 detonators.

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