Maoists massacred seven police officials in a landmine explosion in Bihar on Tuesday even as the state cabinet approved a new surrender-cum-rehabilitation policy for left-wing extremists.
The rebels ambushed the police personnel near Nabinagar in Aurangabad district, 120 km south of capital Patna, around 4.30pm and looted their weapons.
The team of six special auxiliary police jawans and sub-inspector Ajay Kumar, the station house officer of Tandwa, was targeted on its way back from a monthly crime meeting at nearby Nabinagar.
Their vehicle was blown to pieces barely a km away from the Tandwa police station.
The attack came less than 72 hours after the rebels attacked the Sahebganj-Patna Intercity Express and killed three GRP personnel.
Patna zone inspector general Sushil Khopde rushed to the spot with reinforcements even as the CoBRA battalion of the CRPF was asked to launch a combing operation. The operations, however, progressed slowly for fear of mines.
Leader of opposition in assembly and former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi tore into the Janata Dal (United) government following the Aurangabad attack.
He reiterated his charge that the Bihar government had “gone soft on the Maoists”. The BJP leader cited a Union home ministry report which had blamed the state for holding back operations against rebels despite mounting attacks against the police.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar had on Monday said Bihar did not have a magic wand to stop the attacks and the answer lay in initiating multiple measures including socio-economic development.
While Maoist attacks have continued of late, not a single rebel has been killed in any of the operations launched so far.
In September, Maoists had targeted an erstwhile Ranvir Sena (a private militia of upper caste landlords) commander in Daudnagar area of Aurangabad district and blown up his SUV carrying six others. All seven were killed in the attack.
The attack was carried to protest a Patna high court verdict absolving 36 persons charged with the Laxman-Bathe carnage in adjacent Arwal district. In December 1999, suspected Ranvir Sena members had killed 54 Dalits at Laxman-Bathe.
In July, the Maoists had attacked a construction camp to the east of Aurangabad district headquarters and killed five police personnel.