Indian authorities say gunmen have shot and killed three Communist
Party workers in eastern India. The violence is the latest in an area
that Maoist rebels claim they have "liberated" from government control.
Police blame Maoist militants for Wednesday's attack in which six
assailants on motorcycles opened fire on the party workers at a tea
shop in West Bengal state.
The federal and state governments have sent security forces into the
nearby area of Lalgarh, where Maoist rebels have seized control of many
In recent days, members of a Maoist-backed tribal group, the People's Committee Against Police Atrocities, have targeted members of the state's ruling party, the Communist Party of India-Marxist, and set fire to police stations.
Home Minister P. Chidambaram said Wednesday that adequate federal
troops are available, but it is up to the West Bengal government to
decide on what action to take.
Conflict expert Ajai Sahni says there is no government presence in the
area, because government security forces fear causing civilian
causalities by mounting an assault.
Many farmers in West Bengal have been angered by plans to build large
industrial plants in rural areas. Tuesday, suspected Maoist rebels
killed at least four policemen in a gun battle in the neighboring state
The Maoist rebels are part of a wider group of insurgents known as Naxalites who say they fight for the rights of the poor.
The Naxalites are active in at least 13 of India's 29 states. Their decades-long insurgency has left thousands dead.