HOME About Blog Contact Hotel Links Donations Registration
NEWS & COMMENTARY 2008 SPEAKERS 2007 2006 2005

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Maoists massacre 25 ahead of Bush's visit to India

BHOPAL, India (AFP) - Leftwing guerrillas killed at least 25 anti-Maoist campaigners after ambushing a convoy of trucks ferrying the unarmed activists in central India, police said.

The massacre, the bloodiest in recent years in Chattisgarh state, came on the eve of a three-day visit by US
President George W. Bush to India for talks on strategic ties and countering terrorism.

The rebels ambushed five trucks in Dantewada district. After blowing one up they torched the remaining four taking the anti-Maoist activists to their homes, Chattisgarh's Legislative Affairs Minister Ajay Chandrakar said.

He said the injured were rushed to hospitals in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh state after the attack on the campaigners, who had gone to Chattisgarh's Dornapal district to attend an anti-Maoist rally.

"We strongly condemn this attack which is the outcome of the growing frustration among the Maoists as they are being isolated following the success of the ongoing people's movement against them," Chandrakar said in the state capital Raipur.

According to the state police control room, 25 people died in the attack while another 35 were injured.

The guerrillas also apparently abducted as many as 60 people, the Press Trust of India reported.

All those who died were travelling in a tipper truck which was blown up late morning at a village in the district's Darbhaguda area, 550 kilometers (343 miles) south of Raipur, the minister added.

Police said a manhunt was on for the attackers. State police chief O.P. Rathore was rushed to the site by helicopter.

So far none of the various outlawed leftwing groups in the state has claimed responsibility.

Chattisgarh police senior superintendent Pawan Dev warned the toll would likely rise. India's junior Home Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said the national government was ready to send reinforcements if the state requested them.

The "public-awakening" campaign to counteract Maoist violence was organised by a provincial politician. It involves peace marches in which thousands of Chattisgarh residents have been taking part.

This month alone the rebels have killed 19 security officials and more than a dozen residents in Dantewada district. Officials said that around 100 people died in 2005 in Maoist violence in Chattisgarh, one of India's newest states.

India's Maoists have bases in several states and have recently stepped up attacks. They say they are fighting for greater economic and social rights for tribes and landless farmers in rural areas.

According to the home ministry, some 9,300 Maoist rebels are operating in the country but security experts say figures are meaningless as leftwing radicals hold sway across wide swathes of the nation's largely-neglected rural population.

The Maoists have been active in India since the 1960s. They have the same ideology and goals as their counterparts in Nepal but do not have links with them.

"Maoists have mobilised hundreds of thousands of people because in most of the places where they operate, there is no state presence, the region is underdeveloped, and state campaigns against them have exposed innocent people to violence," said Ajai Sahni, director of the Delhi-based Institute for Conflict Management.
Web IntelligenceSummit.org
Webmasters: Intelligence, Homeland Security & Counter-Terrorism WebRing
Copyright © IHEC 2008. All rights reserved.       E-mail info@IntelligenceSummit.org