The body of Chhattisgarh Congress chief Nandkumar Patel, who was allegedly killed by naxals, was found on Sunday near the spot in Darbha, Jagdalpur, where the attack took place.
In what might be termed as the deadly attack targeting political leaders, Maoist rebels opened fire at a convoy of senior Congress leaders at Darbha Ghat section on Jagdalpur-Sukma highway in Bastar, in the central state of Chhattisgarh.
At least 25 people were killed in the deadly attack. Senior Congress leader Mahendra Karma, who was instrumental in setting up two major anti-Maoist movements in Chhattisgarh - Salwa Judum in 2005 and the Jan Jagaran Abhiyan in the mid-1990s, and former Congress MLA Uday Mudliyar were killed in the incident. Veteran congress leader VC Shukla, who was critically injured in the deadly attack, was taken to a hospital in Raipur and was airlifted to Delhi on Sunday for further treatment. According to reports, Shukla has sustained three bullet injuries and his lungs and liver are damaged.
The Maoists ambushed the Congress convoy while the party leaders were returning from a rally organised as part of the party's pre-election campaign - Parivartan Yatra at around 5.30 pm. Assembly elections are due this year end in Chhattisgarh. Following the attack, the naxals allegedly kidnapped Nandkumar Patel and his newly-married son Dinesh Patel.
Earlier reports said Dinesh was found hiding in a ditch in the dense forests of Jagdalpur district. But on Sunday morning, cops found the mutilated body of Nandkumar and his son near the site of the attack. The police also recovered ten other bodies from the site. The dead bodies of Karma as well as PSOs and Congress workers, who were killed, have been brought to Jagdalpur district hospital for postmortem.
Meanwhile, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi arrived early Sunday to meet the victims of the attack. "It is not an attack on Congress. It is an attack on democracy. But, we'll not fear from such an attack and continue to move forward with enthusiasm," said Rahul.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi are expected to arrive in Raipur, Chhattisgarh.
Various leaders have condemned the attack on the congress party members.
Statement from Prime Minister's Office read: Prime Minister condemns the attack on Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh as a dastardly and anti-democratic act.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi said, "It is an attack on democratic values which need to be condemned by not only political parties, but society as a whole."
Rajnath Singh, BJP President said, "I strongly condemn the attack . Everyone should stand united against naxalism and terrorism."
Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot said, "This is an act of cowardice and attack on democratic values," Gehlot said in a statement.
Rajasthan's PCC chief Chandrabhan said, "Violence and terrorism have no place in democracy. The attack is also a big failure of BJP government of Chhattisgarh which failed to protect the Yatra."
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said,"The need of the hour is to stand together as a nation and vow to fight this menace that threatens our democracy."