India: Maoists pledge to resist anti-guerilla drive

India’s Maoists guerillas threatened more attacks March 26, 11 days after they killed 55 police and tribal militia in a raid on their camp in the central state of Chhattisgarh. The two-page statement signed by “Azad” called the attack a “heroic and tactical counter-offensive by the Peoples Liberation Guerrilla Army against state-sponsored reign of terror.” The statement pledged “bigger” attacks if the Salwa Judum (Campaign for Peace) movement was not stopped. The government-sponsored movement is recruiting local tribespeople as informants. Tens of thousands have also been forcibly relocated from their villages into army-controlled camps in an effort to isolate the populace from the Maoists. “The guerrillas assisted by the Bhoomkal militia will take up attacks on bigger scale if the Salwa Judum campaign is not withdrawn,” the statement said. Bhoomkal means “land army” in a local tribal language, and is the name of the Maoists’ own armed network among the populace. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said last year the Maoist revolt was the biggest internal security challenge facing India since independence in 1947. (Reuters, March 26)

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