Itʼs an attack on democracy

Itʼs an attack on democracy
Highlights

The Maoist assault on the Congress leadership in Chhatisgarh on Saturday has dismayed and shocked national...

The Maoist assault on the Congress leadership in Chhatisgarh on Saturday has dismayed and shocked national leaders, including President Pranab Mukherjee. They described it as an attack on democracy and declared that the government would not bow down to Naxalite threats and intimidation.

The President said on Sunday that the country would not be "overawed" or "intimidated" by such action. "I am deeply dismayed and shocked at the wanton violence unleashed by Maoists. I condemn this incident in the strongest of terms and would like to reiterate that violence has no place whatsoever in our democratic polity," he said.

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Calling upon concerned authorities to do their utmost to bring the perpetrators of the crime to justice, the President said that the safety and security of the country's citizens should be ensured at all times. "I express my deepest condolences to the families of those killed in the incident and offer my prayers for the speedy recovery of those injured in the incident," he added.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi visited Raipur and called on the injured at various hospitals. Singh asked the State administration to provide the best medical treatment to the injured.

The Prime Minister also reviewed the security situation in Chhattisgarh with State Chief Minister Raman Singh and government officials and offered all possible help in dealing with the situation.Continued on Last PageA Meanwhile, the visit of Singh and Gandhi to Jagdalpur has been cancelled due to security reasons, Congress sources said. They were to visit some of the injured admitted in hospital at Jagdalpur.

Later, addressing party workers at Congress Bhavan in Raipur, the Prime Minister asserted the country would never bow down before Naxalism and the government would pursue the perpetrators of the crime with urgency and was committed to bringing them to justice.A He announced Rs 5 lakh each as ex-gratia relief from the National Relief Fund for families of those killed and Rs 50,000 each for those injured in the deadly Naxal attack.

"Those who commit such dastardly crimes are working against the interests of peace and development in the area", he said, adding, "Congress has a history of sacrifices made by its leaders. We have faced challenges. This attack is a challenge for us but we have to move forward." The Prime Minister also said that the attack should inspire a fight against forces of extremism.

Rahul Gandhi, Union Minister Charan Das Mahant, Rajya Sabha MPs Motilal Vora, Mohsina Kidwai and other senior party leaders were also present at Congress Bhavan.

Sonia Gandhi said, "I appreciate the courage and bravery of the leaders who in spite of several adversities, took a step and went there. This is a cowardly act on the part of Maoists. It is not an attack on Congress or its leaders, but an attack on democratic values." The attack is a "challenge for us," she said and added that people have seen that leaders have faced challenges and sacrificed their lives.

Rahul Gandhi said, "It is not an attack on Congress. It is an attack on democracy. But, we'll not fear from such an attack and continue to move forward with enthusiasm."

BJP leader L K Advani called upon everyone to "come together" to combat the Naxal challenge. Advani was speaking outside the Medanta Medicity Hospital in Gurgaon after meeting the 84-year-old Congress leader V C Shukla who received multiple bullet injuries in the attack and was flown in by an air ambulance. He is said to be in critical condition.

"This is one of the most audacious attacks in recent times. Saturday's attack has naturally shocked everyone," Advani told reporters, adding, "everyone should come together to fight this (Naxal) challenge." He further said that he had spoken to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and requested him that "concerted efforts should be made to combat and overcome this (Naxal) menace."

Death toll nears 30 Raipur (IANS): The toll in the Saturday evening attack by Maoist insurgents on the Congress convoy at Dharbha Ghati Valley in southern Chhattisgarh's Sukma district in the restive Bastar is close to 30, an official said on Sunday. Listed among the dead are: Leader of Opposition in the Chhattisgarh Assembly Nand Kumar Patel, his son Dinesh Patel, former leader of opposition Mahendra Karma, Chhattisgarh Congress president Uday Mudaliyar, former MLA from Rajnandgaon Gopichand Madhwani, Manoj Kumar and others.

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