In the first major strike in Karnataka, over 100 heavily-armed Naxalites stormed a State Reserve Police (SRP) camp at Venkammanahali in Tumkur district and gunned down six policemen and a civilian. Five persons were hurt in the attack. The attack took place a few hours before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived here on a two-day state visit.
Armed with AK 47 assault rifles and grenades, about 110 Naxals from Andhra Pradesh came in three vans and shot dead the sentry at the camp. They then entered a nearby school building and fired indiscriminately, DGP S N Borkar told reporters.
About 30 SRP personnel, who had just returned from a combing operation in Pavagada taluk bordering the Naxal-infested areas of Andhra Pradesh, were present at the camp at the time of the attack.
The Naxals left a note, written in Telugu, saying: ‘‘We will be back.”
Last week, the Karnataka police shot dead a top Naxal leader, Saketh Rajan alias Prem, and his associate in Chikmagalur district.
Soon after the attack, Karnataka Chief Minister N Dharam Singh announced the setting up of two special units for anti-Naxal operations. While one squad would check the Naxal menace in the coastal and Malnad districts of Chikmagalur, Mangalore and Udupi, the other would be deployed in Bidar, Gulbarga, Tumkur, Raichur, Bellary and Kolar districts.
He said the squads would be headed by a DIG and have 250 personnel each. On his arrival here, the PM said the Karnataka government would get all Central help in tackling the Naxal menace.
Dharam Singh, who had spoken to the Andhra Pradesh DGP on the possibility of joint operations, said he will raise the issue with Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy also. He said there was ‘‘no confusion’’ on the part of the government in dealing with the Naxals. ‘‘Earlier, we had sympathies and we had a dialogue. Now, no more sympathies.’’ He announced a compensation of Rs five lakh to next of kin of each victim and Rs one lakh each for the injured.