Two killed, two injured, including 11-year old son of contractor
The home of contractor and Congress party worker Audesh Singh Gautam of the village of Nakulnar, Dantewada district was attacked by the Maoists late at 12:45am on the 8th of July. Two people, Sanjay Singh and Dharmendra Lohra were shot dead from the window as they slept. David Toppo, a CGP jawaan, from Jajpur District was shot in his face, and has been flown to a hospital in Raipur.
Abhijeet Singh, the eleven year old son of the Audesh Singh Gautam was wounded during the attack. His right kneecap is filled with shrapnel, and his right shin bone is broken. There are large fragments of steel in his right ankle and a bullet in his left shin.
Earlier at night, the Maoists had surrounded Nakulnar police station and had first quietly raided Audesh Singh’s neighbours house. They then infiltrated his house and fired through the windows onto the sleeping Sanjay Singh, a relative of Audesh Singh and Dharmendra Lohra, his driver, killing them instantly. They then hurled hand grenades into the house while Audesh Singh and his security managed to reach the second floor of the house, leaving his family to the mercy of the Maoists.
‘I was in my room,’ Says 11-year old Abhijeet from Jagdalpur’s Maharani Hospital, ‘When there was a blast in the hall.’
There were numerous grenades thrown into the house and according to witnesses, at least one grenade fell next to the intended target, Audesh Singh Gautam, but failed to explode.
Eventually, the coast was clear and the Maoists then entered the home and found Audesh Singh Gautam’s family. At the same time, the CGP members as well as Audesh Singh, retreated to the top floor and were then involved in a gunfight with the Maoists who had taken position around their home.
According to Abhijeet’s elder sister Anjali, the Maoists had instructed her to take her wounded brother out of the house and into their neighbour’s home.
At some point at night, during the gunfight from the roof, CGP jawaan David Toppo, an adivasi from Jajpur took a bullet in his face that left him severely dismembered. His teeth have mostly fallen out and he was incapable of speaking as his tongue was hanging out of his mouth.
‘By around four in the morning, the reinforcements had reached Nakulnar,’ Says Inspector-General Longkumer, ‘There was no exchange of fire and the Maoists had withdrawn into the jungle.’
By daylight, it was discovered that there were pools of blood, and on one spot, brain matter was found where the Maoists had positioned themselves, indicating that they had taken casualties as well. Dharmendra Lohra’s and Sanjay Singh’s bodies lay as they were sleeping, still wrapped in their blankets.
‘We can speculate that the Maoists took two fatalities and a few were injured.’ Continued IG Longkumer, ‘although the information is unverifiable.’
It was also a known fact that Audesh Singh was a target of the Maoists even though he had no involvement with the Salwa Judum. According to some sources, he was also supplying the police with information about the Maoists.
This was not the first attempt on his life. Previously, around six months ago there was an attempt on his life in the market, but the gunman’s weapon had jammed.
Audesh Singh himself anticipated an attempt on his life over the last week.
He was eventually attacked on the second day of the bandh declared by the Maoists, to protest the killing of top Politburo Member Azad AKA C Rajkumar.