Indian forces kill at least 21 Maoist rebels
Police forces in India have killed at least 21 Maoist rebels in a remote jungle region in the eastern state of Odisha.
Police said on Monday that they had tracked the rebels to the forested area, where a gunfight broke out shortly after midnight.
“Now, 21 bodies of the Maoists have been recovered. The search operation is still on,” said sub-inspector C.K. Dharua from Odisha’s Malkangiri district, where the gun battle occurred.
Dharua had earlier confirmed 18 deaths but said that the toll could rise.
Odisha police chief K.B. Singh separately explained that police acted on a tip-off that around 30 rebels had gathered close to the border with Andhra Pradesh State. He said there was no immediate information on police casualties.
“It was a joint operation by Andhra and Odisha police conducted last night… The operation is still going on,” Singh said.
The operation inflicted one of the heaviest casualty tolls this year on by the rebels, who have been fighting a decades-long war against the Indian state from jungle hideouts across eastern and central India.
Maoist rebels accuse the Indian state of plundering the mineral-rich and underdeveloped east and central regions of the country at the expense of the poor and landless, among whom they retain some support.
In July, Maoists killed at least 10 members of an elite Indian police force in the south of Bihar State.