73 killed by maoists in India

Reuters April 06, 2010

NEW DELHI: Maoist rebels killed at least 73 police after an ambush in central India today, just the latest in a series of attacks on security personnel.

The rebels, estimated around 20,000, hold sway over vast swathes of the countryside, many rich in metals and minerals. India's Congress party-led government is taking on the rebels in a biggest-ever offensive, reflecting growing concerns that the rebels are becoming stronger in the decades-long insurgency.

The maoists started an armed struggle with a peasant revolt in Naxalbari village in West Bengal state in 1967 but were initially crushed by the Congress-led government after which they regrouped in the 1980s.