Timeline | Red Terror

Timeline | Red Terror

In Odisha, the Naveen Patnaik government has failed to eliminate the Naxal menace from most of the districts where the tribal people are in a majority. Almost all the state’s mining and other natural resources are concentrated in these areas. The prospect of the state’s three mega industrial projects — those by the South Korean firm, Posco, the Tata and the Vedanta groups — may finally depend on the success of the state’s war against the Naxals. Political pundits say populism could prove to be Patnaik’s nemesis.

Bad peace is better than a good war. Maoists have always believed that revolution is the only means to liberate people from economic penury. The post-Independence political history of India has many examples of armed uprising ending through talks. Putting an end to the Maoist violence is critical to both India’s economic progress and internal security.

If the anti-Maoist operation is a necessity, so is an urgent and realistic development plan to end centuries-old social and economic deprivations that tribal people suffer. It is also the state’s prerogative to ensure that civilians and armed personnel are not killed in cold blood.

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Brief History: The communist movement in India officially began in the 1920s with the formation of the Communist Party of India (CPI) .

In 1964 a serious ideological rift within the party, corresponding with the Sino-Soviet split, led a breakaway group to form the Communist Party of India (Marxist) which is now a mainstream Marxist political party.

Italian tourists Bosusco Paul (L) and Claudio Colangelo, who were abducted by Maoists from Kandhamal-Ganjam border area in Odisha. PTI Photo / TV Grab

The leaders of the Naxalbari uprising broke away from CPI (Marxist) in 1969 to form the CPI (Marxist-Leninist) — the Maoists, or Naxalites. This party advocated armed revolution and denounced participation in the electoral process.

Soon the Maoists had created vast guerrilla zones stretching from West Bengal to Bihar to Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.

But within a few years their fortunes were waning because of internal splits, the death in 1972 of their ideological leader Charu Mazumdar, and major crackdowns by the government.

Since then there have been many communist revolutionary groups operating in different parts of India.

Abducted Italian national Paolo Bosusco posing with tribal women at an undisclosed location in Odisha. AFP / Photo

It gained strength in 1998 when it merged with another left-wing group, the Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist Party Unity).

Partly as a result of such mergers, the Naxalite movement has grown much stronger in recent years.

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The following is a chronology of how the Maoist war began and the journey so far:

12 April 2012 | Maoists free Italian tour guide

Maoist rebels freed an Italian tour guide on Thursday, almost a month after capturing him in a remote part of Orissa in what was believed to be the first kidnapping of a foreigner by the leftist fighters. Read story

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09 April 2012 | Maoists want to exchange abducted Odisha MLA with 30 prisoners

In a new twist to BJD MLA Jhina Hikaka’s hostage crisis in Odisha, Maoists on Sunday purportedly issued a fresh communication asking his wife to reach a village in Koraput district on 10 April along with 30 prisoners to pave way for the legislator’s release. Read story

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Edit | The specturm of security risks

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5 April 2012 | Odisha names prisoners to be released, Maoists extend deadline

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Odisha govt yet to give names of those to be released

The Odisha government, which announced that eight Maoists and 19 others would be released from jail for freeing an abducted legislator and an Italian after pressure from the ultras, was on Thursday yet to announce their names. Read story

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29 March 2012 | The realities of Maoist rebellion

Root Cause | Sudeep Chakravarti

We have last fortnight’s abduction of Italian tourists in Orissa by local Maoists to score a political point. And subsequently, an MLA in that state—this apparently in reprisal for the government not delivering its part in an arrangement that had a Maoist front organization win for the state’s ruling party some district-level elections. Read full column

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25 March 2012 | Maoist rebels free one Italian tourist

Maoist rebels have freed an Italian tourist who was kidnapped almost two weeks ago in a remote area of Orissa, handing him to a group of reporters on Sunday, TV channels said. Read story

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Ourview | The story of two abductions

On Sunday, Maoists in Orissa released one of the two Italian citizens who had been kidnapped in the Kandhamal district of the state from where they had been kidnapped 11 days earlier. Read article

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19 March 2012 | Maoists issue demands to free Italian hostages

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1 March | 2012 | The threat of escalation

Root Cause | Sudeep Chakravarti

It’s is as good a time as any to flag this concern.

Last month I was at the Army War College in Mhow to talk to a group of “senior command" students—officers up to the rank of a major in the Indian Army and a sprinkling of officers from other services of similar rank—about Left-wing extremism in India. Read full column

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1 Dec 2011 | Quick Edit : Carrot and stick

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15 Nov 2011 | MGNREGS wages to be paid in cash in Maoist areas

The rural development ministry has decided to return to cash payments for its flagship job guarantee plan in 60 Maoist-violence-affected districts in India to overcome the lack of banking and post office infrastructure in these areas. Read story

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2 Nov 2011 | Nepal parties seal deal on Maoist fighters

Nepal’s political parties have agreed to integrate one-third of 19,600 Maoist former fighters into the national army, a move that could boost a flagging peace process after a decade of civil war. Read story

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15 Oct 2011 | Mamata sets 7 day deadline for Maoists to lay down arms

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6 Sept 2011 | Essar rejects allegations of paying Maoists

Essar Group on Tuesday rejected the allegations made in the United States (US) diplomatic cable published on WikiLeaks that it paid protection money to Maoists, saying it is a law abiding corporate. Read story

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24 May 2011 | Security concerns over Naxalite arrests in urban Maharashtra

The arrest of 16 Naxalites, including the head of the so-called golden corridor control committee, in Pune in the past one month has put security in Maharashtra on high alert as it indicates a shift in the strategy of the Maoists and the possible targeting of urban areas. Read story

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9 May 2011 | Maoists likely to go easy on election boycott as one of their own contests

Chhatradhar Mahato, a tribal leader until recently seen as the public face of the Maoists in West Bengal, is contesting an assembly election for the first time. This may persuade the ultra-left rebels who denounce parliamentary democracy as useless to be a little less aggressive with implementing their traditional poll boycott call. Read story

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14 April 2011 | SC to hear Binayak Sen’s bail plea on 15 April

The Supreme Court will hear on Friday the bail plea of civil rights activist Binayak Sen, who has been sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of sedition and links with Naxalites. Read story

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2 March 2011 | Maoists practise survival strategy

Root Cause | Sudeep Chakravarti

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23 Feb 2011 | Quick Edit : Farce in Orissa

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17 Feb 2011 | What are the CPI Maoists up to?

Root Cause | Sudeep Chakravarti

It will soon be a year since a spectacular series of attacks against paramilitary forces in Chhattisgarh exposed dislocated communication between security agencies in the states, and the flaws in random, drag-and-drop deployment of ill-prepared troops to combat guerillas as wily as the Maoist rebels have proven to be. Read full column

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10 Feb 2011 | Chhattisgarh HC rejects bail plea of Binayak Sen

The Chhattisgarh high court on Thursday rejected the bail application of rights activist Binayak Sen, who has been sentenced to life imprisonment by a sessions court on charges of sedition and links with Naxalites. Read story

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1 Feb 2011 | Maoists, terrorism, communalism worry India: PM

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31 Jan 2011 | The decade in fractures

In the work-in-progress schizophrenia that is India, the past decade was one of rude shocks. A smaller, less dispersed and less economically diversified country may well have wilted under such a hail of chaos. Read story

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6 Jan 2011 | Left, TDP meet Chidambaram over alleged TMC links with Maoists

Following the exchange of letters between P. Chidambaram and West Bengal CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee,the CPI(M), CPI and TDP met the Home Minister bringing to attention the concerns over the alleged connections between the Maoists and TMC in West Bengal. Read story

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3 Jan 2011 | Quick Edit : Dousing a forest fire

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27 Dec 2010 | Intellectuals, activists join chorus for Binayak Sen’s release

Intellectuals and activists, including Noam Chomsky and Arundhati Roy, on Monday stepped up protests against the “shocking" imprisonment of rights activist Binayak Sen and demanded immediate hearing of his appeal after granting him bail. Read story

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29 Nov 2010 | ‘Ore triangle’ may become a war zone

Root Cause | Sudeep Chakravarti

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24 Nov 2010 | ‘Fraternal’ role in maoist play

Root Cause | Sudeep Chakravarti

Talk about links between Maoist rebels in India and Pakistan-based terror networks has in the past month been on overdrive. Chhattisgarh’s director general of police Vishwa Ranjan claimed that Laskar-e-Taiba representatives attended a meeting of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) this summer. Read full column

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6 Sept 2010 | Bihar hostage crisis over; abducted cops released

Maoists on Monday unconditionally released the three abducted Bihar policemen in Lakhisarai district, bringing an end to the nine-day-old hostage crisis. Read story

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2 Sept 2010 | Quick Edit : Bihar’s dilemma

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15 Aug 2010 | Views : Governmental expectations

The recent statement made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the National Development Council meet in New Delhi—that inflation would come down to 6% by December—is nothing but rubbish and bogus. Read full article

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6 Aug 2010 | Quick Edit : Nepalese lock

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4 Aug 2010 | The propaganda battlefront

Root Cause | Sudeep Chakravarti

When it comes to propaganda, Maoists can be as smooth as government.

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Maoists, police exchange bullets in Chhattisgarh

Security forces on Wednesday launched a major operation at a Naxal hideout in the dense forests of Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district where heavily-armed Maoists fired at them but there were no immediate reports of casualties. Read story

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3 Aug 2010 | India clamps down on Maoists to woo mining investors

India’s growing Maoist violence is worrying investors, forcing authorities to fight back aggressively in hopes of luring up to $7 billion in funds needed to boost coal and iron ore output vital for growth. Read story

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16 July 2010 | Maoists, mafia, MLAs and moneylenders: they are external, extortionist threats

Vikram Akula, chairman of SKS Microfinance Ltd, is arguably the most controversial figure in India’s nascent microfinance industry. As SKS’ initial public offering (IPO) approaches, the first among microfinance companies, Akula spoke in an interview about his unabashed support for a commercial approach to the business of lending to the poor and the challenges faced. Read story

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15 July 2010 | A geography lesson

Stall Order | Nandini Ramnath

India has no shortage of conflict zones. Almost every state in the North-East, especially Manipur, continues to challenge Delhi’s authority. Although Punjab has put the horrific 1980s behind it, members of the Babbar Khalsa militant outfit continue to emerge out of the state’s mustard fields at periodic intervals (perhaps their peace has been disturbed by the number of Bollywood crews that have descended on the place). Read full column

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The superpowers of Gandhian austerity

In his book, Imagining India, Nandan Nilekani writes: “Wherever I go, I find that Indians know our growth numbers backward and forward, and there is a strong, common feeling among us that our country has finally come of age." Read full story

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5 July 2010 | Railways geared up to handle ops during bandh call by Maoists

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23 June 2010 | Maoist threat hampering India coal output: minister

The threat of Maoist attacks is hampering coal mining in several states, keeping production lower than the demand from growing industries, coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said on Wednesday. Read story

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9 June 2010 | Projects in Naxal-hit areas to get more funds

The government is preparing the ground for a special development plan for districts with a strong Maoist presence, to support infrastructure projects that cannot be funded by existing development schemes. Read story

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2 June 2010 | CBI to investigate Bengal train crash

The Central government ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the 28 May West Bengal train derailment, conceding railway minister Mamata Banerjee’s demand. Read story

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1 June 2010 | AK Antony discusses Naxal threat with forces chiefs

Defence minister A.K. Antony met the three chiefs of the Armed Forces on Tuesday to discuss the role they may play in a crackdown on Maoist insurgents. Read story

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29 May 2010 | Police hunt Maoists over sabotaged train crash

Police began searching for Maoists rebels on Saturday believed responsible for sabotaging a crowded passenger train, as rescuers continued pulling bodies from the wreckage. Read story

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28 May 2010 | 73 dead as Maoists sabotage tracks, train derails in WB

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How big is the Maoist threat in India?

Suspected Maoist rebels sabotaged a high-speed train in west Midnapore district on Friday, killing at least 65 people when the crowded train derailed and smashed into the path of a goods train, officials said. Read story

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26 May 2010 | Buckle down for more conflict with Maoists

Home minister P. Chidambaram has in the past days said the government will talk to Maoist rebels were they to switch off their rebellion for 72 hours—a tempering of his earlier pitch of no talks until rebels put down their weapons for keeps. Read story

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25 May 2010 | Views : A beleaguered home minister

By the standards of normal politics—indiscriminate criticism by the Opposition and reckless defence by one’s own party—Union home minister P. Chidambaram deserves a medal. Read story

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18 May 2010 | Hard line against Naxals meets resistance from within UPA

The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government is considering a revision of its strategy to combat Maoists in the wake of the attack that led to the killing of 35 people in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada, the second such strike in 40 days. Read story

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Govt under pressure to send Army to quell Maoists

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is under pressure to look at whether to send in the military to quell a growing Maoist insurgency in central India after an attack left 35 police and civilians dead. Read story

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17 May 2010 | Maoists kill 40 in Dantewada bus attack

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14 May 2010 | Fighting Maoists with herbs and honey

Natural cosmetics, lime grass insecticides, gooseberry candy, herbal medicines and honey are among the new weapons deployed by India in its fight against Maoist insurgents. Read story

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22 April 2010 | Bengal Maoists fast penetrating jute mills

Politburo member of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) Koteshwar Rao has often been quoted in media interviews as saying that his outlawed party’s armed struggle, now confined to the economically backward countryside in West Bengal, would soon spread to the state’s industrial hubs as well. Read story

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21 April 2010 | The dilemma of double jeopardy

Crosshairs | Raghu Raman

Lately there has been debate on the quantum and type of force to be used in fighting Maoist insurgents. There is a strong lobby that seems to be advocating employing the armed forces for the job. Read full column

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13 April 2010 | The trials of being a tribal

On Monday, news agency PTI reported that families from villages in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district were fleeing their homes for fear of reprisals from security forces in the aftermath of last week’s massacre at Tadmetla. Read story

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12 April 2010 | Hunger helps Maoists spread their wings

If you want to understand why the Maoists grow stronger, watch frail Shyam Charan Kisku, 5, as he keeps hunger away by nibbling at a wild berry called Kendu on a hot April afternoon. Read story

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9 April 2010 | PM rejects Chidambaram’s offer to resign over attack

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has rejected home minister P. Chidambaram’s offer to resign over the attack by Maoist insurgents on 6 April that killed 76 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in Dantewada in Chhattisgarh. Read story

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It’s again time to question Maoist myths

Root Cause | Sudeep Chakravarti

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Chidambaram takes responsiblity for Naxal attack

Home minister P. Chidambaram said on Friday he took responsibility for the deaths of 76 police this week, as New Delhi mobilised more security forces to flush out the rebels from their forest bases. Read story

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8 April 2010 | Views : Buying peace, expensively

On Tuesday, Maoists mowed down 75 members of a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) squad close to Tadmetla in Chhattisgarh. In the medley of voices and opinion after the slaughter, there was one, distinct, set of voices: underdevelopment is to be blamed for pushing central and east central India in the vortex of violence. Read full article

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7 April 2010 | Views : The right response to Maoists

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6 April 2010 | Over 70 CRPF personnel were killed in an attack by Naxalites in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh. Read story

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22 Feb 2010 | The Centre on Monday told the Supreme Court that it has envisaged a Rs7,300 crore package for the development of Naxal-affected states in the country. Read story

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16 Feb 2010 | Maoist rebels detonated land mines and set a security outpost ablaze in eastern India, killing at least 24 policemen in the worst-ever attack on police in the restive area. Read story

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3 Feb 2010 Column | Naxalism and angst of Jharkhand tribals

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8 Jan 2010 |The 2001 census had revealed a shortage of 472,846 houses in Naxalite-affected districts. Read story

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22 Dec 2009

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3 Dec 2009 | The government will be prompt in initiating talks with Maoist insurgents if they give up violence, home minister P. Chidambaram told Parliament, while launching an attack on those who sympathized with the Naxalites. Read story

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1 Dec 2009 | Naxalite groups choke movement of the commodity from the mines of state-run Coal India Ltd (CIL) India’s largest producer of the fuel. Read story

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17 Nov 2009 | Maoists, who have influence in varying degrees in a quarter of India, oppose the building of roads in their strongholds, as police vehicles can then drive in. Read story

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12 Nov 2009 | In a huge haul, about 45 quintals of explosives meant for Maoists were seized by the Special Task Force of Bihar police from two places in naxal-hit Gaya district. Read story

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5 Nov 2009 Edit | Caught in a crossfire of ideas

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4 Nov 2009 Column | Maoist crisis: govt needs to change stance

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28 Oct 2009

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22 Oct 2009 Column | Maoist documents point to erudite research

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15 Oct 2009 | PM tells a meeting of top police officers from around the country that Maoist rebels posed the greatest threat to India’s internal security and that a new strategy was required to deal with the problem. Read story

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10 Oct 2009 | The Naxalite attack at Bhamragad in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district, in which 17 policemen were killed, could have been an attempt by the Maoists to seek attention during election time, top state officials said. Read story

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8 Oct 2009 | Maoist rebels ambushed a police patrol in Maharashtra and killed 17 policemen, a day after home minister P. Chidambaram warned them to give up violence or face a major assault by security forces. Read story

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8 Oct 2009 Column | Maoist rebellion looks set to get shriller

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2 Oct 2009 Column | Why the Green Hunt rhetoric rings so hollow

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27 Aug 2009 Column | Andhra grapples with Maoists, new acronyms

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25 Aug 2009 | Maoists blow up a mobile tower in Latehar district on the second day of their 48-hour bandh in five states, including Jharkhand. Read story

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24 Aug 2009 | Around 20 rebels blastthe track between Kumundi and Hehegarha railway stations, about 150km from Ranchi. Read story

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24 Aug 2009

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16 Aug 2009 | Pro-active action against Naxals and security in the aftermath of Mumbai terror attacks will be reviewed at a meeting of chief ministers convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Read story

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12 Aug 2009 | Security tightened at National Aluminium Co. Ltd (Nalco) bauxite mine, after the company received a letter from suspected Maoists threatening to attack the site. Read story

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12 Aug 2009 | The officers say that a new surrender policy being contemplated by the government, based on cash payments to those who give up the gun, could work in Naxalite-affected states only if the security forces are able to first dominate the areas now held by the guerrillas. Read story

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6 Aug 2009 Edit | Money for the Maoists

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28 July 2009 | The Centre approves Rs7,800 crore under a road connectivity plan and a special infrastructure scheme in Left-wing extremism affected states in the 11th Five Year Plan. Read story

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22 July 2009 | The Chhattisgarh police have informed the Union government that the state needs at least 54 battalions—or 54,000 men—of armed police to mount continuous and effective operations against Naxalites. Read story

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15 July 2009 | 29 policemen killed by the Maoists in a forest ambush in the mineral-rich central state of Chhattisgarh, which experts described as a glaring example of policemen ignoring combat safety doctrine. Read story

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14 July 2009 Edit | Maoists and the fiscal deficit

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12 July 2009 | Maoists killed at least 30 policemen, including a senior officer, in two separate ambushes in Chhattisgarh, officials said. Read story

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2 July 2009 | At a time when Maoist rebels are expanding their influence elsewhere in India and stepping up attacks, security forces in Andhra Pradesh claim to have finally gained the upper hand over the rebels they have been battling for two decades. Read story

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23 June 2009 | Tribals who launched the agitation eight months ago in protest against alleged police atrocities are facing starvation and fleeing homes. Read story

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21 June 2009 | Union home minister P. Chidambaram issued a statement describing the situation in Lalgarh as “tense" and asked politicians, people and NGOs to keep away from the conflict area. Read story

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21 June 2009 Edit | Red star over Lalgarh

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20 June 2009

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18 June 2009 | The West Bengal government rules out an apology, as sought by Maoist leader Kisanji, for the “atrocities" committed on tribals at Lalgarh and blamed the ultras for bloodshed and violence in the restive West Midnapore district. Read story

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12 June 2009 | Proximity to their strongholds is helping Maoists make inroads into districts that lack basic infrastructure. Read story

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7 June 2009 | Maoist forcibly shut down Hindustan Unilever’s joint venture plant in Nepal protesting the alleged encroachment of Nepalese territory by the Indian forces. Read story

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11 May 2009 | Prachanda blamed “bureaucratic and security officials" in India for the trust deficit and said that because India’s political leaders were busy in the elections these officials were handling Nepal. Read story

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6 May 2009 | CPN-Maoist workers thrashed workers of NC and the CPN-UML in Ramechhap and Rolpa districts. Read story

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4 May 2009 Edit | Prachanda marches out

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4 May 2009 | Nepal’s president sacked army chief general Rookmangud Katawal to stay in his post, defying the Maoist government and thrusting the Himalayan republic deeper into political crisis. Read story

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4 May 2009 | Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal faced a major setback when the second largest coalition partner CPN(UML) with 108 members in Parliament, said it was quitting the govt. Read story

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23 April 2009 | In fresh attacks, Maoists exploded bombs injuring two officials in Jharkhand where security forces repulsed a naxalite bid to disrupt the second phase of elections after a fierce hour-long gunbattle. Read story

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23 April 2009 | Heavy firing between Maoists and security forces were reported at Basadera under Ghatsila police station bordering West Bengal. Read story

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23 April 2009 | Naxalites blew up a railway station building and tracks near Medininagar in Palamau district, disrupting train services, police said. Read story

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20 April 2009 Edit | Maoists strike once again

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13 April 2009 | Maoist rebels killed 10 policemen in eastern India and shut down a mine operated by state-run National Aluminium Co Ltd (NALCO) as they stepped up attacks ahead of a general election. Read story

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19 Feb 2009 Edit | Commando only in name

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30 Oct 2008 | Orissa’s complex mix of religion, caste and tribal loyalties forces the Naxalites to remap their strategy here. Read story

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18 Sep 2008 | The Union government has lined up a Rs5,500 crore project to link remote areas in 33 districts that have an active Naxalite or Maoist, presence with highways to provide rapid access to paramilitary forces. Read story

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31 Aug 2008 Edit | The Prachanda path

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15 Aug 2008 | The head of Nepal’s former rebel Maoists, who led a campaign of armed struggle for a decade, announced that he would stand in elections to become the country’s first post-royal prime minister. Read story

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16 Jul 2008 Edit | A state of denial

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22 May 2008 | Rebels promise poor families in east, central India their kids wil have food, better life in camps; sometimes, take children by force. Read story

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9 April 2008 Edit | Of monarchs and Maoists

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19 March 2008 | Many Nepalis wonder if the conflict-hardened organization has given up violent tactics; party says it is reformed. Read story

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25 Jan 2008 | Part reportage and part travelogue, this is an unflinching look at India’s Naxal reality. Read story

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13 Jan 2008 | Rather than targeting people, Naxalites have targeted economic installations, with Railways bearing the brunt in badly affected states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhattisgarh. Read story

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2 Jan 2008 Edit | Two threats

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21 Dec 2007 | Left-wing Maoist guerrillas, locally known as Naxalites, are active in 11 of the country’s 28 states. Read story

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23 Sep 2007 | Guerrillas set fire to about a dozen lorries, blocked highways and attacked a police patrol, killing three people, including one officer. Read story

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27 June 2007 | Be it growing communal and sectarian violence, manipulation of IT systems, proliferation of nuclear arms, jihadi influence or lack of resolute leadership, terrorism is threatening to destablize every pillar on which hinges the great India Shining dream. Read story

Reuters and PTI contributed in this story

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