Stayed back in US to consult eye doctor: Shinde

New Delhi, May 30 (IANS) With his own party having expressed reservations over his extended stay in the US following the Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde Thursday said he was consulting an eye doctor.

Shinde told reporters here that he had an appointment with an eye specialist May 28 and he returned to the country soon after. Shinde said he had received permission to stay in the US till May 29.

The minister said that the ophthalmologist gave him appointment for May 28 as he was away to Malaysia.

He said in between, there was two-day weekend and the US memorial day May 27, which was a public holiday.

The minister, who will visit Chhattisgarh Friday, said political leaders working to strengthen democracy in the Maoist affected areas will be provided security.

Shinde condemned the attack by the Maoists in Chhattisgarh in which 28 people, including two senior state Congress leaders were killed.

Asked why he did not condemn the Maoist attack through a statement, Shinde said he was in regular touch with home ministry officials and did not feel the need for issuing any statement from the US.

He said the government had information that the Maoists may try to target urban centres.

"We have information that Naxals may try to target urban centres. There was specific information about Pune," Shinde said.

Asked if he shared the view that the Bharatiay Janata Party government in the state had failed to protect the Congress leaders, Shinde said a judicial inquiry was on. He said the National Investigation Agency was also probing the incident.

He said the government may have to review its counter strategy according to changing tactics of the Maoists.

Shinde earleir led a delegation to the US for homeland security dialogue.

While other members of the delegation returned to India after the talks, Shinde stayed back.

Shinde drew flak from his party colleagues for staying in the US even after the May 25 strike on Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh.

Congress spokesperson Bhakta Charan Das had said "no tour could be important at this juncture".


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