Chidambaram condemns Sunday's landmine blast in Jharkhand

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New Delhi, Jan.19 (ANI): Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Tuesday condemned the landmine blast that took place in Jharkhand's Gumla District two days ago.

The incident claimed the lives of eight persons, including seven policemen.The rebels blew up a truck in which the police personnel were traveling.

In a statement, Chidambaram expressed the hope that the Jharkhand Government would issue clear directions to the state police and administration to resolutely face the challenge of naxalism.

He said: "In a loud and clear signal to the new government in Jharkhand, the CPI (Maoist) have ommitted their first major act of depredation by triggering a landmine blast in which seven personnel of security forces and one civilian were killed. The Maoists also looted nine weapons belonging to the security forces.

There was no provocation for this act of mindless violence. A team belonging to the police picket under Bishnupur PS was returning from a routine patrol in the mining area. The team was not engaged in any search operation; nor did the team open fire on any one. Yet, the team became the target of attack and eight precious lives were lost.

It is a well known fact that illegal bauxite mining takes place in that area. The naxalites collect levies from the illegal miners. The naxals resorted to this attack only to scare the police away from the area in which they operate and collect illegal levies. The incident has caused all of us great sadness. I strongly condemn the incident and I would urge all concerned - State Government, political parties, media, civil society and common citizens - to understand the true nature of the naxal menace and once again resolve to put an end to naxalism. I share the grief of the families of the deceased and convey to them my sincere condolences. I also share the anguish of the Jharkhand police who have lost their fellow policemen.

I sincerely hope that the new Government in Jharkhand will quickly settle down and give clear directions to the State Police and the State Administration to resolutely face the challenge of naxalism."

State Police have launched an investigation into the incident, even as the rebels continue to ignore repeated calls to renounce violence and negotiate.

They have stepped up their attacks in recent past months, prompting the State and Central Governments to go after them in a concerted manner.(ANI)

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