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May 30, 2013 at 08:36pm IST

Naxal attack: Shinde defends his US stay, to visit Chhattisgarh

New Delhi: Back after his more than a week-long tour to the US, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Thursday did his best to explain his absence when the country witnessed one of its deadliest Naxal attacks in recent times.

"I took prior permission to stay in US beyond May 23. I had a meeting with an eye-specialist and I had got the permission to stay there till May 29," Shinde said.

When asked why he didn't take care to issue at least a statement on the incident, Shinde remained defiant. "There was no need for me to issue a statement because I was in touch with MoS Home (RPN Singh)," he said.

Shinde, in his first reaction to the gruesome killing of key Congress leaders in the Jagdalpur district of Chhattisgarh on May 25, said that it was an attack on democracy. "I strongly condemn the brutal and inhuman killing of leaders and people in Bastar," he said. He added that he will be visiting the state on Friday. He also said that there was specific information on the Naxals planning attacks in other "urban centres". "We have specific information about Pune," Shinde said.

Shinde, however, said that there was no need to jump to conclusions on the Jagdalpur attack before the probe report was out. He also said that he was not aware of any possible attack on senior Congress leader Mahendra Karma.