18 May 2010

Chhattisgarh is struggling to come to terms with the second major Naxal strike in just over a month. It's a nightmare for the families living there.

Wagi's 35-year-old husband, Kosa Madkami, was on the bus that was blown up by the Maoists on Monday while it was on its way to Sukma. He returned home in a coffin putting a question mark on the future of her and her two children.

"Till now he used to take care. I have small children. I don't know what will happen to me and my children," she said.

Gloom, anger and fear describe the mood in Sukma. After all, innocent civilians have fallen victim to the Maoist war against security forces.

"Today, we are not feeling safe. A family does not know if the son goes out, he will come back safe," said Md. Husain, a local.

Ironically, instead of making them feel safe, the presence of police here has become a liability for locals. But the police insist boarding a civilian bus was not a tactical blunder.

"I don't think so. Boarding a civilian bus is the best possible security measure," said Amresh Mishra, Superintendent of Police, Dantewada.

And for Chief Minister Raman Singh, it was the second time in less than two months that Maoist terror was staring him in the eye.

In November, 2002, the Naxals had similarly blasted a state transport bus in Warangal district of Andhra Pradesh, killing 14 people. They later admitted it was a mistake and asked for forgiveness. But no such plea for forgiveness is forthcoming now, which means the Maoists are no longer apologetic about causing collateral damage to the very people whose cause they claim to espouse.

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