Rampur/Lucknow, Jan 1 (UNI) The new year began on a grim note for the security forces as at least eight people, including seven CRPF jawans were killed and five others injured when two heavily armed Laskhar-e-Toiba(LeT) terrorists, wearing Khaki uniform, attacked the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) group centre in Rampur district early today.
The two fidayeen first eliminated two armed sentries using a hand grenade and mowed down five other unarmed paramilitary soldiers with their assault rifles. A rickshaw-puller, who usually slept on his rickshaw near the group centre was also killed. ''He died in his sleep,'' said additional director general of police (Crime/Law and Order/STF) Brijlal.
The ADG admitted that the two fidayeen, responsible for the attack, managed to escape before the securitymen could retaliate.
The fidayeen also targetted a police picket near the kooth gate, injuring three cops. Another cop on mobile patrol was wounded when he got down from his vehicle after hearing gun shots.
The entire area had been cordoned and search operations launched to nab the terrorist who were ''hiding somewhere in the jungle area around the vast CRPF camp''.
'' There is a possibility that the militants escaped through the nearby railway lines.'' ''Security was at the maxiumum alert even after the completion of the recruitment drive at the group centre on December 25,'' he said.
Mr Brijlal said the injured jawans have been shifted to hospital at the neighbouring district of Moradabad where the condition of one of them was stated to be critical.
Senior police officials from the nearby district have rushed to the spot along with additional security forces, he added.
''Teams of Special Task Force and the newly-formed Anti-Terrorist Squad have been trushed to Rampur to assist CRPF.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minsiter Mayawati, who rushed to Rampur to take stock of the situation, while condemning the attack, blamed the paramilitary outfit for the same.
She also announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs one lakh each to the families of the security personnel killed in the attack.
Brushing aside questions on any laxity on the part of the UP police, Mayawati said: ''Despite several alerts by the intelligence agencies and the UP government, the CRPF did not make suitable arrangments to fend off such an attack,'' she lamented. ''They should have been more careful following the threat perception,'' she added.
The State government has already issued a high-alert in the state after the incident with the CM asking all the senior police officials to maintain a strict vigil to prevent such incidents in the future.
In New Delhi, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil also conveyed his sympathies to kin of those killed and asked for a detailed report about the facts and circumstances of the incident.
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