India underestimated Maoist threat, says Chidambaram

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New Delhi, July 15 (NAI): Alarmed by spread of the Maoist tentacles, Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Wednesday admitted to government's failure in curbing the menace.

Speaking in Rajya Sabha, Chidambaram said, the government had underestimated the Maoist challenge as result of which the left wing extremists had increased their areas of influence.

"Today, they pose a very grave challenge to the states," he added.

Urging lawmakers to join hands in facing the challenge, Chidambaram said, "All sections of the house must recognise that if we must remain a democratic, republic ruled by law, we must collectively rise and face the challenge of left wing extremists."

Chidambaram's statement comes in wake of recovery of a consignment of communication equipment meant for Maoists in Jharkhand on Tuesday.he recovered equipment included walkie-talkies, a number of radio sets, micro tape recorders and signal receivers, among others, which was sent as cargo from New Delhi on a state-run domestic flight.

The Maoists have recently stepped up attacks against police, officials and civilians away from remote rural areas and closer to towns and cities across India.

Naxals had also in big way disrupted the first phase of this year's Lok Sabha elections.

They had also taken over Lalgarh and surrounding areas in West Bengal's Midnapore district.

Maoists, who say they are fighting for the rights of poor farmers and landless labourers, are expanding their influence in east, central and southern India. (ANI)

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