Vol. 5 Num 382 Fri. June 24, 2005  

Chhattisgarh villagers turn against Maoists:10 killed

At least 10 people have been killed as villagers in Chhattisgarh's Bastar region have turned against Maoist guerrillas, accusing them of blocking development work.

According to officials, angry villagers killed three guerrillas of the Communist Party of India-Maoist in the past week. The rebels in turn killed seven villagers.

The villagers have reportedly accused the guerrillas of committing acts that have pushed the poor to the verge of starvation.

The unprecedented development has no doubt pleased the state administration. It is the first such showdown between the Maoists and villagers, who are otherwise considered the backbone of the Maoist movement.

"It is surprising and pleasant that villagers have realised that development activity suffers heavily in rural belts because of Maoist ultras," Home Minister Ramvichar Netam said.

"We completely back the people and are ready to provide all support to them to weed out Maoism," he added.