A file photo of Mahendra Karma (centre)

An AK-47 assault rifle looted from late Congress leader Mahendra Karma’s personal bodyguard during a Maoist attack in 2013 was recovered from Rajandgaon district on May 8, police said on Friday.

Karma and 26 others, including 12 Congress leaders and workers and eight policemen, were killed in the attack in Darbha valley seven years ago.

On May 8, a sub-inspector of police and four Maoists, including a divisional committee member of the CPI-Maoist, were killed during a gun battle in the jungles of Rajnandgaon district.

“Police recovered two automatic rifles from the spot – an AK-47 and a SLR (self-loading rifle). We seized the weapons and started investigating where they had got these weapons,” Rajnandgaon’s superintendent of police Jitendra Shukla said.

“As per the number inscribed on the AK-47, the gun was allotted to Karma’s personal security guard Siyaram Singh. The SLR was looted in 2006 in Kirandul area of Dantewada.”

Siyaram Singh, who was severely injured in the 2013 attack, had died of multiple organ failure in Raipur hospital a few days later.

A charge-sheet filed by the National Investigating Agency (NIA) in 2014 regarding the attack had said the Maoists looted nine AK-47 rifles, seven INSAS rifles, two SLRs, four 9mm pistols, magazines and ammunitions from dead and injured police personnel.

Shukla said that police had gunned down Ashok, the divisional committee member who used to carry Siyaram Singh’s AK-47, and Krishna, the area committee member of CPI-Maoist, who was using the SLR, during the May 8 gun battle.

Rajnandgaon comes under a newly formed zone of Maoists. The insurgents have built a so-called “red corridor” at the tri-junction of the states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh (MMC).

Many documents recovered by security agencies suggest the Maoists are constantly moving in this area to strengthen the new zone and recruiting new members.

Senior officers of Chhattisgarh believe there are about 180 armed Maoists in Vistaar Dalam of this new zone, who are trying to establish their grip on the area. The new zone is said to be a refuge for hardcore Maoists of Bastar and other regions, and most cadres in this region were recruited from South Bastar.

“ The looted weapons are always sent to the places where it is needed. It could be possible that the weapons are distributed in other states and zones. Since MMC is a new zone, Maoists are definitely concentrating on it,” said Badranna, a surrendered Maoist commander while speaking to HT.

source: hindustantimes