Dozens of Maoists attacked a Congress leader's house and a police station in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district early Thursday, killing a relative and an employee of the politician. At least four Maoists were also shot dead.
Guerrillas opened fire at Congress leader Avdhesh Singh Gautam's house and a police station, some 450 km from Raipur, simultaneously at around 1 a.m. The attack continued till 3 a.m., police said.
The leader's brother-in-law Sanjay Singh and an employee were shot dead. Gautam's wife suffered minor injuries while his son and another family member were critically hurt. They were rushed to Maharani Hospital, Jagdalpur, headquarters of the restive Bastar district.
'Maoists paid the price as at least three guerrillas were killed when security guards at the Nakulnar-based house of the politician retaliated while another rebel was shot dead by forces at Kuakonda police station in retaliatory firing,' Vishwa Ranjan, director general of police (DGP), Chhattisgarh, told IANS over phone.
He said a large number of Maoists surrounded the area and stormed the politician's house which is not far from the Kuakonda police station.
Gautam, a contractor, escaped unhurt. He is associated with state Congress' veteran leader Mahendra Karma who has been credited with launching a controversial armed civil militia against the Maoists in Bastar and Dantewada in June 2005.
Transporters kept their vehicles off the road fearing attacks by Maoists, who called a two-day strike that began Wednesday to protest the killing of their top leader Chelukuri Rajkumar alias Azad in Andhra Pradesh.
According to police, Maoists opened fire early Thursday at several security installations across Bastar region, including at a police station at Rowghat in Kanker district.
Chhattisgarh continued to feel the impact of the shutdown for the second consecutive day with normal life and iron ore transportation being severely hit in the interiors of state's violence-hit 40,000 sq km Bastar region. The region comprises Kanker, Bijapur, Bastar, Narayanpur and Dantewada districts.
India's largest iron ore miner in public sector, NMDC Ltd, cut short 33 percent supply of its daily dispatches of about 60,000 tonnes from Bailadila facilities in Dantewada to Andhra Pradesh's port city Visakhapatnam as railway rakes were not available in sufficient numbers due to the strike.
Police arrested two Maoists from Bijapur area while a Congress local leader-cum-businessman Nemchand Patel was arrested in Narayanpur on charges of being hand-in-glove with Maoists June 29 when the rebels had killed 27 securitymen in an ambush in the district.
Chhattisgarh has been rocked by a series of blasts and gunfights in 2010. In the past three months, the state witnessed killings of 150 people, mostly security personnel.