Maoists kill Tata Steel project supporter

June 19th, 2009 - 8:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Raipur, June 19 (IANS) Maoist rebels Friday gunned down a man in a market in Chhattisgarh village for his vocal support of a mega Tata Steel project, police said.
According to police, armed insurgents shot dead Vimal Meshram, 42, an influential tribal leader, in full public view. Meshram was also the president of Lohandiguda janpad panchayat (village council) in Bastar district.

“Meshram was shot at the weekly market and died on the spot,” A. Naroti, station in-charge of Lohandiguda police station told IANS by phone.

“The Maoists walked away after the murder, creating a panic at the crowded weekly market.”

A five-million-tonne steel plant is planned by industrial the major Tata Steel at Lohandiguda, some 340 km from here.

Meshram was a supporter of the project, which was being protested by a section of farmers of 10 villages were land is being acquired. The land acquisition for the project is in its final stages.

Police officials suspect that Meshram was killed for his active involvement in favour of project despite Maoist warnings and also for playing a leading role in compensation amount distribution to farmers in lieu of their land.

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