Suspected rebels kill 24; India officials outraged

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 26, 2013 at 6:35 am •  Published: May 26, 2013
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Congress is the main opposition party in the state. It has stepped up political activities, trying to win the support of tribals, ahead of state elections scheduled to be held by December.

K.P.S. Gill, a former police chief of Punjab state who has written widely on reform, said the attack was "a very horrifying incident."

However, Gill said the state government was incapable of devising a strategy to tackle the Maoist threat. "They don't have the political will and bureaucratic and police set-up to prevent such attacks," he said.

He said the state government had ignored the need for special forces to tackle the threat. "Most of the special forces in the state are being used for non-operational duties like guarding state politicians," he said.

Prime Minister Singh has called the rebels India's biggest internal security threat. They are now present in 20 of India's 28 states and have thousands of fighters, according to the Home Ministry.

The rebels, known as Naxalites, have been fighting the central government for more than four decades, demanding land and jobs for tenant farmers and the poor. They take their name from the West Bengal village of Naxalbari where the movement began in 1967.

The fighters were inspired by Chinese Communist revolutionary leader Mao Zedong and have drawn support from displaced tribal populations opposed to corporate exploitation and official corruption.

The government has offered to begin peace talks with the rebels, but without success. The Maoists demand that it first withdraw thousands of paramilitary soldiers deployed to fight the rebels.

Maoist rebels carried out two major attacks in Chhattisgarh in 2010. They ambushed a paramilitary patrol in April that year, killing 76 troops in their worst attack ever. A month later, they triggered a land mine under a bus carrying civilians and police, killing 31 people.

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