Chhattisgarh Maoist assault a terror attack: Shinde

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde Friday termed the May 25 Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh in which 30 people were killed, including some senior Congress party leaders, as a terror attack but declined to point it to intelligence failure, saying two probes are being held into the audacious attack.

Addressing a joint press conference with Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh here, Shinde said the Maoist massacre in 2010 of 76 security personnel in Tadmetla and the May 25 attack on the Congress rally were “nothing other than a terror (activity)”.

“There were perceptions that this problem was due to lack of development, but the way in which the Maoists are targeting people, there is no other word than terror to describe this. Nobody can justify the killings,” he added.

Shinde earlier reviewed the anti-Maoist operations in the state. He returned from the US Thursday.

Asked if the attack in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region could be ascribed to intelligence failure, he said: “We can’t say if it was due to intelligence failure. A judicial commission and our own enquiry is being conducted. We will decide after we get the reports.”

He said many of the intelligence inputs need to be verified, to check the veracity, before they are acted on.

There were allegations that intelligence agencies had been warned about an impending Maoist attack in Darbha Ghati, in Chhattisgarh.

In the May 25 attack, armed Maoists attacked the Congress convoy as it was returning from a political rally and set of a landmine blast and opened fire, killing Congress leader Mahendra Karma, Chhattisgarh Congress chief Nand Kumar Patel and his son Dinesh and former legislator Uday Mudaliyar. Many security personnel were also killed in the attack.

“We have asked the investigating agencies to bring out the truth, without being influenced by anything”, Shinde said and added that the central government and Chhattisgarh government have decided to take joint action to deal with the Maoists. “We have assured Chhattisgarh government to extend all possible assistance,” he added.

He said after his talks with the Chhattisgarh government, both have decided on joint action to combat the Maoists. “Chief Minister Raman Singh told me that this time we will not put any demand (to Centre), except we want support. Central forces will support the state in joint operation.”

He also said the Maoist-affected states should develop the elite Greyhound force to combat Maoists. Centre would offer help in this area,” he added.

State Home Minister Nankiram Kanwar, Union Home Secretary R.K. Singh, CRPF Director General Pranay Sahay and Chhattisgarh DGP Ramniwas were among those who attended Friday’s meeting.

Shinde also visited Nandeli village in Raigarh district to meet the family members of slain state Congress chief Nandkumar Patel.