Maoist rebels kill 11 in attacks in eastern India

AP News
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Posted: Dec 04, 2011 7:53 AM
Maoist rebels kill 11 in attacks in eastern India

Maoist rebels have killed 11 people in attacks across an eastern Indian state after their leader died in a gunbattle with security forces, police said.

The rebels blew up railway tracks at two points in Jharkhand before dawn Sunday, hours after attacking a police convoy traveling with a state lawmaker with explosives and gunfire that left 10 officers and a young boy dead, police Superintendent D.V. Sharma said.

Another officer was hospitalized with injuries. Former Jharkhand Speaker Inder Singh Namdhari escaped unharmed.

The rebels also set fire Sunday to a cellphone tower in southwest Bihar state, on the border with Jharkhand, and vowed to continue their agitation through Monday as they protest the Nov. 24 killing of Koteshwar Rao, known as Kishanji, in the neighboring state of West Bengal.

The rebels, inspired by Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong, have been fighting for more than three decades in several Indian states to demand land and jobs for agricultural laborers and the poor.

Referred to as Naxalites, after the West Bengal village of Naxalbari, where the movement began in 1967, they frequently target police and government workers.

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

Last month, security forces launched a hunt for Kishanji and other rebel leaders in the jungles of West Bengal, eventually killing the top rebel in a gunbattle and seizing large stocks of arms and ammunition.

The rebels have vowed to avenge his death.

Left-wing politicians have protested the killing as well, saying the rebel leader could have been made to surrender.