New Delhi: Two days after Maoists blew up a bus killing 31 people, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh Wednesday described Leftwing extremism as the worst form of terrorism and said the rebels may have links with the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba terror outfit.
"It is the worst form of terrorism. Killing civilians, attacking public transport, attacking school buses, punishing people and beating them. What is this? Isn`t it terrorism? They are spreading terror," Singh said here of the rebels who are entrenched in parts of central and eastern India.
He said although he didn`t have confirmation there were indications that "Naxals (Maoists) may have some connection with Lashkar militants".
"The way they are using explosives and weapons with 100 percent technical surety shows there are experts behind who are giving them training," he said.
Singh spoke just two days Maoist guerrillas carried out the worst massacre after slaughtering 76 security personnel on April 6 in a forested stretch of Dantewada district.
The April 6 attack was the worst loss for security forces at the hands of Maoists since the insurgency erupted in 1967.
Giving details of Maoist violence in the last 10 years in the state, Singh said they had killed 1,000 civilians and over 650 policemen, and blown up 132 electric towers, 106 school buildings and three hospitals.
But Singh came out against air strikes on Maoists fearing it would cause collateral damage. But he said aerial support to paramilitary troopers and police fighting Maoists was welcome from the logistic point of view.
The chief minister said that Maoists had mined large swathes of near impregnable forests in the state. In case of a blast, "it takes hours to take the injured to hospital by road".
"Army helicopters can be used here. And also for supplying emergency rations. But I don`t recommend use of air power as Chhattisgarh has a huge thick forest cover inhabited by tribals, If any such attack is launched, they will suffer greatly. Bombing is not possible in these areas. This is not a war," he said.
Singh said that Monday`s attack on a bus in a forested stretch of Chhattisgarh that killed 31 civilians and special police officers was aimed at targeting civilians "because they support the government".
The chief minister, who reached New Delhi Wednesday morning and was to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P. Chidambaram, said the Maoist problem cannot be tackled overnight.
"We need to be prepared for a long-drawn war. But we are moving in the right direction," he said.