Wednesday 19 May 2010

India - Maoist rebels strike again

India’s Maoist rebels (see my blog of Oct 5) have carried out three bloody attacks this week. On Monday, they detonated a mine under a bus in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh, killing more than 30, including some police officers. (76 people died in another attack in the same area last month.) On the same day, six villagers in Chhattisgarh were found with their throats cut, after the rebels had branded them government spies.

Then today, the rebels killed four paramilitary troops with a mine in West Bengal. Last October, the government deployed 50,000 troops in what it described as a “massive offensive” against them.

The Maoists are also known as "Naxalites" because they launched their uprising in the West Bengal village of Naxalbari in 1967. Today they have up to 20,000 fighters, and are active in eight states.

They claim to be fighting for the rights of indigenous tribespeople and the rural poor, and the length of time for which they have been able to maintain their rebellion is seen as proof that they enjoy a good deal of local support. It’s estimated that more than 6,000 people have been killed in the rebellion so far.

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