Two days after targeting an ambulance and a minibus in Bijapur and Bastar districts, killing 14 people, including five teachers and two men on medical duty, the CPI(Maoist) on Monday issued a “public apology” for the twin blasts and expressed “extreme empathy” for the families of the victims.
“Our lapse has caused irreparable damage to the families. We know that by admitting to the mistake and expressing apology, the deceased teachers-employees cannot return, but we only want to clarify that the deceased were not the enemies of our party. It was an incident caused by negligence. We will take this incident seriously,” said Gudsa Usendi, spokesperson of the Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee, in a statement mailed to the media.
The Maoists also wished “speedy recovery” to the injured and urged doctors to “take all possible steps for their treatment”.
Over the past few months, senior Maoist leaders have issued more public apologies for violence by their cadres than they probably did in the 10 years of the formation of the CPI(Maoist).
In his statement, Usendi said Maoist leaders had directed their cadres to take all precautions to ensure no loss to the public and polling parties. “We still committed the mistake,” he said.
Claiming that teachers are part of the “joint Maoist front” and they would never target them, Usendi said they would probe the attacks and ensure that such incidents were not repeated. He urged the public not to take the twin attacks as “violation of human rights” but as a “serious lapse”.
“We also urge teachers-employees and journalists not to travel with the police in police vehicles. We urge private vehicle owners not to give lifts to policemen in conflict zones,” said the statement.
Recently, CPI(Maoist) spokesperson Abhay also expressed regret over the Latehar incident in which guerrillas planted an IED in the body of a CRPF personnel, and appealed to the cadres to “take this incident as a lesson” and “respect the bodies of slain enemy soldiers”.
Maoists have also apologised for the killings of two journalists in Sukma and Bijapur. Central committee cadres even overruled an earlier statement issued by their cadres who sought to justify the killings.
Last October, Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee secretary Ramanna had also noted that the killings of PCC chief Nand Kumar Patel and his son Dinesh Patel in Darbha was a mistake.