Vol. 5 Num 64 Fri. July 30, 2004  

Maoists rally in Andhra as ban is lifted

Thousands of Maoists and their supporters began gathering in a southern Indian town Wednesday for their first public rally since an eight-year ban on them was lifted last week, police said.

The ban on the People's War Group (PWG) and its six front organisations was lifted after a new government came to power in Andhra Pradesh state.

The two sides are now engaged in peace talks.

Wednesday's rally at Warangal, 140km northeast of state capital Hyderabad, had been called to mark "martyrs day" commemorating PWG cadre killed in recent years fighting the police.

The Maoists are also planning to erect a memorial in Mogilicharala village of the district.

"This turnout is proof of the spontaneous support of the people for the movement," Gaddar, one of the negotiators representing the PWG in the talks, told AFP by telephone from Warangal.