India rebels kill one hostage, release 250 others: police

By AFP
Published: May 10, 2015
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Maoists protest against construction of a bridge which they fear will give security forces access to their hideouts. PHOTO: AFP

Maoists protest against construction of a bridge which they fear will give security forces access to their hideouts. PHOTO: AFP

RAIPUR: Maoist rebels have killed one hostage and released some 250 others in India’s restive Chhattisgarh state after capturing the villagers on the eve of premier Narendra Modi’s visit to the state, police said Sunday.

The insurgents rounded up the villagers late on Friday and marched them into the forests in impoverished Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district in protest against construction of a local bridge, police said.

“All villagers have been released (late on Saturday) except one who was killed at the hands of the Maoists,” district inspector general S.R.P. Kalluri told AFP.

The victim was shot after he was “found guilty” of encouraging others to take part in the bridge building in Sukma, some 318 kilometres (198 miles) from state capital Raipur.

“He was found guilty at a kangaroo court and shot dead,” police sources told AFP.

The Maoists had been protesting against the bridge, which they fear will give security forces easy access to their hideouts, according to local lawmaker Kawashi Lakma.

But the villagers had been defying Maoist orders to oppose it and even skipped meetings called by the insurgents, leading to a show of strength against them, Lakma said.

Hostage-taking is a common tactic by the guerillas to force villagers to support their cause. The Maoists say they have been fighting for decades for the rights of tribal people and landless farmers.

Speaking in a neighbouring district on Saturday, Prime Minister Modi pledged government investment in the region, saying development for all would help end the bloodshed.

“Violence has no future…. Don’t get disheartened. The macabre drama of death will end soon,” Modi said after announcing a new railway network in the area and meeting children left orphaned by the violence.

The rebels have been fighting against Delhi-government rule since 1967 for a communist society.

They draw recruits from tribal communities who are often desperately poor and living in underdeveloped areas neglected by successive governments.

The rebels are thought to be present in at least 20 states, but are most active in Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand and Maharashtra, occupying vast swathes of land.

Their insurgency has cost thousands of lives including through bombings and attacks on police and soldiers.

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

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Reader Comments (5)

  • Maoist Rebel
    May 10, 2015 - 3:03PM

    ET there are about 17 freedom struggles going on in India. Please do write something about them someday as well. Recommend

  • Azi
    May 11, 2015 - 1:32AM

    Look at so many Indians here sharing their concerns about the mess in their backyard…Recommend

  • Question
    May 11, 2015 - 8:17AM

    The maoist dont want freedom from country. Please educate yourself. This concern for india comes on a day when 47 tribesman are killed in waziristan for a piece of land. Recommend

  • Proletarian
    May 11, 2015 - 9:24AM

    Yeah the Maoist dont want freedom from India. They want to conquer the rest of India and have already conquered quite a bit of land. They have support from the Maoist Parties in Nepal, where they are a major political forceRecommend

  • Azi
    May 11, 2015 - 7:16PM

    @Question:

    The usual Indian response method. Slide drift under the rig by a reversal to Pakistan or in other words, “you first”. There is a lot of difference over personal/ family conflicts of land vs rebels kidnapping at will.

    I wonder if it had more concern for you if all 250 were killed. At the moment families of spared people can’t thank the rebels enough.

    But then again why am I even trying when your response is going to be the usual slid under rug with a reversal.Recommend

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