In­dia po­lice say 12 Maoist rebels killed

The China Post - - GUIDE POST -

Twelve Maoist rebels have been killed in a gun battle with po­lice in a for­est in an eastern In­dian state known as a rebel strong­hold, of­fi­cers said Tues­day.

They said fir­ing erupted when po­lice tried to in­ter­cept a group of sus­pected guer­ril­las whom they thought were head­ing to a vil­lage to ex­tort money in Jharkhand state late Mon­day.

“They started fir­ing when we tried to stop them,” said He­mant Toppo, deputy in­spec­tor-gen­eral of po­lice in Palamu dis­trict where the in­ci­dent oc­curred.

“We re­tal­i­ated and 12 Naxals were killed in the ex­change that lasted for al­most an hour,” he told AFP, us­ing a lo­cal term for the Maoist rebels.

Toppo said po­lice have re­cov­ered the rebels’ bod­ies along with guns and ammunition from the for­est, which is 193 kilo­me­ters (120 miles) north­west of the state cap­i­tal Ranchi.

“Some rebels also man­aged to es­cape into the nearby for­est ar­eas and our teams are now look­ing for them,” he said.

In­dia’s long- run­ning

Maoist in­sur­gency be­gan in the 1960s, in­spired by Chi­nese rev­o­lu­tion­ary leader Mao Ze­dong, and has cost thou­sands of lives.

The rebels, de­scribed by for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Man­mo­han Singh as In­dia’s most se­ri­ous in­ter­nal se­cu­rity threat, say they are fight­ing au­thor­i­ties for land, jobs and other rights for poor tribal groups.

They are be­lieved to be present in at least 20 In­dian states but are most ac­tive in forested, re­sourcerich ar­eas in the states of Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Bi­har, Jharkhand and Ma­ha­rash­tra.

Po­lice said Mon­day’s attack was their big­gest clash with the rebels in the state in more than a year, af­ter Maoists am­bushed a po­lice ve­hi­cle there in April 2014 and killed six of­fi­cers.

“Our forces across the state have been put on high alert over the pos­si­bil­ity of a re­tal­ia­tory attack by the rebels,” A. Natara­jan, po­lice in­spec­tor-gen­eral of Palamu, told AFP.

Crit­ics be­lieve at­tempts to end the re­volt through tough se­cu­rity of­fen­sives are doomed to fail, say­ing the real so­lu­tion is bet­ter gov­er­nance and devel­op­ment of the im­pov­er­ished re­gion.

Hu­man rights lawyer Vrinda Grover called for an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the attack, say­ing In­dia’s po­lice had a his­tory of killing sus­pected rebels in “cold blood.”

“It is im­por­tant to in­ves­ti­gate (such cases) in a trans­par­ent man­ner to en­sure that there is con­fi­dence in the ac­tions of the state,” Grover told AFP in Delhi.

In­dian po­lice have long been crit­i­cized for so-called en­counter killings, in which they shoot sus­pected crim­i­nals to side­step court pro­ce­dures and then claim the vic­tim fired first.

In April po­lice in the south­ern state of Andhra Pradesh launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into of­fi­cers who gunned down 20 san­dal­wood smug­glers.

Of­fi­cers claimed they were act­ing in self-de­fense af­ter they came un­der attack. But fam­i­lies of the vic­tims launched protests, say­ing they were in­no­cent.

AFP

In this pho­to­graph taken early Tues­day, June 9, In­dian po­lice of­fi­cials look at a dam­aged ve­hi­cle af­ter an en­counter with al­leged Maoist rebels at Palamu, some 120 kilo­me­ters north­west of Ranchi.

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