India to plan demining of roads in Maoist zone
The plan, due to be finalised at a meeting in New Delhi on Friday, comes in the wake of spiralling rebel violence.india Updated: Mar 28, 2006 14:04 IST
The security officials aim to draft a plan this week to clear landmines from large swathes of a central state battling a bloody Maoist rebellion, officials said on Tuesday.
The plan, due to be finalised at a meeting in New Delhi on Friday, comes in the wake of spiralling rebel violence.
More than 100 people were killed in southern and eastern India this year.
Much of the violence has been in the impoverished state of Chhattisgarh, where rebels frequently use landmines to deter security forces from entering large areas under their control.
"Almost 90 per cent of the attacks that have killed people have been from landmine blasts," Chhattisgarh Home Minister Ramvichar Netam said.
Officials said the army could be asked to clear landmines from Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district, a Maoist stronghold.
"Once the landmines are removed, police can move in to clear the place," a federal official said.
The rebels are active in eight other states, running their deadly campaign -- stretching back to 1967 -- from jungle bases. Thousands have been killed.
The Maoists say they are fighting for the rights of poor peasants and landless labourers in India's rural hinterland.
In one of the deadliest attacks, they set off a landmine under a truck in Chhattisgarh in February, killing more than 50 people apparently returning from a government-backed anti-Maoist meeting.
Another landmine blast killed 13 civilians in the same state last week.