Five Maoist rebels shot dead in Chhattisgarh | india | Hindustan Times
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Five Maoist rebels shot dead in Chhattisgarh

The gunfight began when police opened fire on Maoists who were holding a meeting in Kanker district .

india Updated: Sep 17, 2006 17:20 IST

At least five Maoist rebels were killed and several wounded in a fierce gun battle with police in insurgency-hit Bastar region of Chhattisgarh, officials said on Sunday.

The gunfight broke out when police opened fire on dozens of Maoist rebels who were holding a meeting in a forested area in Kanker district, 225 km southwest of Raipur on Saturday night.

"We fired over hundred rounds of bullet shots on the Maoists in a 30-minute encounter last night in Korakhuri hamlet. At least five rebels were killed including a divisional commander, Vikas," Kanker district police chief Pradeep Gupta said.

"Police have recovered bullet-ridden body of the divisional commander on Sunday while rebels managed to carry away the bodies of at least four of their comrades deep into forest," Gupta said.

"A huge amount of blood has been strewn across the encounter site that suggests several rebels have received bullet wounds," he added.

Police have recovered some explosives and a diary written in Telugu.

Chhattisgarh is among the worst affected of 13 Indian states witnessing radical left-wing violence.

Officials say at least 260 people have been killed in Maoist violence in the state since January. Most of the victims are tribal people in the Bastar region spread over 40,000 sq km.

Maoists, who hold sway over vast swathes of rural India along its eastern flank, claim to fight for the rights of poor peasants and landless labourers.