Friday, September 25, 2009

BBC NEWS | World | South Asia | India prepares for Maoist assault

The Indian Home Minister, P Chidambaram, says the government will extend "every support" to states battling left-wing Maoist extremism.

Mr Chidambaram was assessing state security in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand as the government prepares for what it says will be an all-out assault.

About 20,000 troops are being sent to the two states to join 35,000 already stationed there ahead of the offensive.

The Maoists say they are fighting for the rights of the poor.

They operate in a large swathe of territory across central and eastern India.

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More than 6,000 people have been killed during their 20-year fight for a communist state.

"The centre is committed to fight Naxalism [Maoism]," Mr Chidambaram said. "We will provide all possible help to... eradicate the left-wing extremists completely," he told reporters here.

The home minister hailed the Chhattisgarh government's efforts to fight Maoists and said all steps to provide "succour to kin of security men killed in the fight against Naxalism" have been taken.

Correspondents say any offensive is not expected to be launched before October.

On Friday Mr Chidambaram met Chhattisgarh Governor ESL Narsimhan to discuss the Maoist threat.

Last week a fierce gun battle between Maoists and the security forces took place in Chhattisgarh. At least seven Maoists were killed and one paramilitary soldier.

India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said earlier this month that his country was losing the battle against the rebels.

Mr Singh told a meeting of police chiefs from different states that rebel violence was increasing and the Maoists' appeal was growing.

The rebels operate in 182 districts in India.

BBC NEWS | World | South Asia | India prepares for Maoist assault
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