Indian Maoist : 75 policemen were trapped eastern India

Indian Maoist rebels ambushed police officers and set off a roadside explosion in separate attacks in eastern India, killing nine people, police said.

At least four police officers on a patrol were killed on Wednesday in a forest area near Kirandul, a village in Chhattisgarh state, a police officer said on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to talk to reporters.

The CNN-IBN television channel said that another 75 policemen were trapped in the forest area fighting the Maoist and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force rushed reinforcements to help them.

In the neighbouring state of Jharkhand, Maoist rebels set off a land mine explosion that killed five people travelling in a van late Tuesday, another police officer said.

The device, planted on a road in Giridih, a district in Jharkhand state, exploded when the van drove over, the officer said.

The blast was so powerful that the van was completely destroyed and it was difficult to identify bodies of the victims, said the officer, who also would only speak on condition he was not named.

The men, employed by a bank, were returning after checking on ATM machines in the district.

The explosion occurred at the end of a two-day strike called by the Maoists.

The Maoist, inspired by Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong, have fought the Indian government in several parts of India for more than four decades, demanding land and jobs for landless farmers and the poor.

The insurgents — often targeting police, soldiers and government officials whom they see as representatives of the state — have tapped into anger among the rural poor over being left out of the country’s economic gains.

The Maoist are now present in 20 of India’s 28 states and have an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 fighters, according to the Home Ministry.

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