Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh epicentre of Maoist activities, says Chidambaram

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Ranchi, Sep 25 (ANI): Union Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said on Friday that the states of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh have become the epicentre of Maoist activities in the country.

The rebels have spread to more than 180 of the country's 630 districts from just 56 in 2001, according to an independent data.

Equipped with automatic weapons, mines and explosives, the Maoists carry out attack and cripple economic activity. Last year they carried out around 1,000 attacks, mostly in remote jungles and villages.

Maoists have formally been labelled as a terrorist group by the Indian government, which gives security forces more enforcement powers. However, some experts say the ban has not had much impact so far in the battle against thousands of Maoists.

"Jharkhand has become the epicentre of Left-wing extremism along with Chhattisgarh. Therefore we are very concerned about the situation here in Jharkhand, but I must compliment the government that in the last few weeks and few months they have taken a number of steps to stem, contain and rollback Left-wing extremism," Chidambaram told reporters here.

Chidambaram, who arrived in Ranchi on Friday after visiting neighbouring Chhattisgarh state, also reviewed the security scenario, operations against Maoist rebels and development activities with the state Governor K Sankaranarayanan.

Meanwhile, enroute the state governor's residence from the airport, Chidambaram was met with protest by activists of main opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) demanding early state polls.

"The statement given by the federal Home Minister that after the conclusion of the monsoon session there would be arrangements for state assembly election but what happened to that assurance? So today we are here to get the answers for that," said Gama Singh, a BJP activist.

All 23 BJP legislators of the Jharkhand state assembly earlier this month tendered their resignations to the party's state unit chief Raghuvar Das to mount pressure on their demand for early state polls. (ANI)

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