30 Jan 2006 14:02:10 GMT
Source: Reuters, RAIPUR, India, Jan 30 (Reuters) – Four civilians and three Maoists were killed in eastern India when rebels shot at a group of tribesmen and police returned fire, police said on Monday.
The clash took place in the remote Bastar region of Chhattisgarh state, some 400 km (250 miles) south of the capital, Raipur, late on Sunday but reports began trickling in only on Monday evening, police said. "Armed Maoist rebels opened fire at a relief camp for tribals and killed four refugees," officer M.W. Ansari said.
"Three rebels, including a woman, were killed in retaliation by the police." The officer said the relief camp had been set up last June to house about 250 tribesmen after Maoists threatened to kill them, accusing them of supporting the police.
The Maoists, who hold sway over vast rural areas of eastern and southern India, say they are fighting for the rights of landless labourers and poor peasants, many of them tribesmen.
Their main targets are police and paramilitary forces.