Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Congress fumes over charge of legislator's Maoist links

From correspondents in Chhattisgarh, India, 11:31 PM IST

Chhattisgarh's main opposition Congress party stalled the assembly proceedings for an hour Tuesday after a government official allegedly described a party legislator as Maoist spokesperson.

As the house assembled, the Congress members led by former home minister and senior party legislator Nandkumar Patel sought an explanation from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government about a letter sent by Dantewada District Collector K.R. Pisda this month to
the state government, seeking withdrawal of y-category security for Congress MLA Kawasi Lakhma, describing him as a sympathiser and spokesman of Maoist militants.

Lakhma, a Congress legislator from Dantewada's Konta assembly segment, said in the house that the official was targeting him as he (Lakhma) had exposed corruption in the district.

'People in my constituency and even my family members have fallen prey to the Maoist violence. How many relatives of the district collector were killed by the rebels?' he asked amid slogan shouting by Congress members who demanded action against the collector.

Speaker Prem Prakash Pandey adjourned the house for an hour. Home Minister Ramvichar Netam later told the house: 'The state government has asked an additional chief secretary-ranked official to probe the matter and also sought an explanation from the Dantewada collector.'

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