Operations against Maoist rebels were to continue Friday during a week in which Maoist rebels killed more than 10 Indian government supporters and took over eastern Indian villages, a government official said.
The government of the state of West Bengal on Thursday deployed paramilitary forces and state police to reclaim Maoist-dominated areas, said Ardhendu Sen, West Bengal’s home secretary. The forces have reclaimed an area of about 12 square miles (20 square kilometers), and there is an area of about 9 square miles (15 square kilometers) remaining to reclaim in the West Midnapore district, Sen added. The district is about 170 kilometers from the state capital, Kolkata. There were no Maoist casualties, but about 20 suspected Maoist rebels had been captured as of Thursday, Sen said. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called the Maoist insurgency the single biggest security threat to the country. The rebels, known as the Naxalites, say they are fighting to defend the rights of the poor. They are active in several Indian states. The insurgents often attack landlords, police and sometimes government officials.