//Maoist rebels kill 16 policemen in Jharkhand

Maoist rebels kill 16 policemen in Jharkhand

The Associated Press
December 2, 2006

NEW DELHI: Suspected Maoist rebels set off a land mine, killing 16 police in eastern India on Saturday, police said.

The officers were traveling in a van over a bridge in Jharkhand state when the blast hit their vehicle, killing them, said local police chief M. S. Bhatia. There were no survivors, he said.

Police were carrying out searches in the area, Bhatia said.

The rebels, who claim to be inspired by Chinese revolutionary Mao Zedong, have been fighting for more than two decades in several Indian states, demanding land and jobs for agricultural laborers and the poor.

More than 6,000 people — mostly police, government soldiers, landlords and civilians suspected to be spies — have been killed in rebel violence.

The rebels, known as Naxalites from the Naxalbari region where the movement was born, are mainly active in six of India's 28 states — Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Karnataka, Orissa and Chattisgarh.