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Indian minister survives Maoist attack

  • Story Highlights
  • Indian minister escapes landmine explosion by suspected Maoist rebels
  • Explosion in West Bengal destroys vehicle in Ram Vilas Paswan's convoy
  • Steel minister unhurt but explosion wounds six police officers
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NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- A federal minister escaped a landmine explosion set off by suspected Maoist rebels in West Bengal state in eastern India, police said Monday.

The explosion Sunday in the Midnapore district destroyed one vehicle that was part of Steel Minister Ram Vilas Paswan's convoy, police said.

The minister was not hurt but the explosion wounded six police officers, said police superintendent Rajesh Kumar Singh.

Authorities arrested six suspected rebels in connection with the attack.

The rebels, known as the Naxalites, have been battling the government in several states in an insurgency that has resulted in thousands of casualties since the late 1960s. They claim to be fighting for the poor and the dispossessed.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called the rebels India's biggest security threat.

Last year, more than 800 people were killed in Naxal-related violence across the country, according to local media reports.

CNN's Harmeet Shah Singh contributed to this report.

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