Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute on Friday to national broadcaster Doordarshan's cameraman Achyutanand Sahu, who was killed by Naxals last month in Chhattisgarh, even as he accused the opposition Congress of shielding "urban Maoists".
Sahu and two security personnel were killed on October 30 in a Naxal attack in Dantewada district, located around 450 km from the state capital Raipur.
"An innocent cameraman of Doordarshan, Achyutanand Sahu, who was doing his duty was killed by Maoists. He was sharing the dreams of people of Bastar with other people across the country, what was his fault?" Modi asked.
The prime minister was addressing his first election rally in Chhattisgarh, where the first phase polling for the Assembly elections will take place on November 12.
He accused the Congress of backing urban Maoists who he said have ruined the lives of poor Adivasi youth.
"Recently, our valiant jawans were also martyred in encounter with Maoists. And for Congress party these Maoists are revolutionaries," Modi said.
"Now people of Bastar should teach a befitting lesson to Congress leaders who try to shield the urban Maoists, and in Chhattisgarh, they speak about freeing the state from Maoists," he added.
Describing Naxals as "monsters with evil mindset", Modi said the earlier governments did not do enough for the development of Bastar region.
Naxalites have asked voters to boycott the upcoming polls for the 90-member state assembly, to be held in two phases on November 12 and November 20.
The first phase is to be held in 18 Naxal-affected constituencies of the Bastar region.
The remaining 72 constituencies will go to polls on November 20 and the votes will be counted on December 11.