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Monday, 20 August, 2001, 18:09 GMT 19:09 UK
South India rebels target BJP official
Member of the People's War Group
Maoist rebels have targeted four BJP leaders
By Omer Farooq in Hyderabad

A Bharatiya Janata Party leader was shot and critically injured by members of the outlawed People's War Group in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, authorities say.

The Maoist group is also blamed for a landmine attack on Monday which killed nine policemen and one civilian.

Damaged police station in Andhra Pradesh
The PWG says it is engaged in an armed struggle

Police say Srinivas Reddy, the BJP president of Warrangal district - about 200 km from the state capital Hyderabad - was attacked by two members of the People's War Group while returning home after taking his children to school on Monday morning.

He was taken to hospital and operated upon.

He is the fourth district president of the BJP to be targeted by the PWG.

Earlier this year, the BJP presidents of Nalgonda and Nizamabad districts were killed and the Karimnagar district president was attacked but escaped.

Police said the landmine that killed the policeman and a civilian exploded in Guntur district, about 350 km from Hyderabad, as the victims were crossing a culvert in a car. Two other people were injured.

More than 350 people have been killed in violence between rebels and the police this year.

Communist state

The People's War Group is the most powerful Maoist organisation in the area.

Set up in 1980, it is waging an armed struggle for the creation of a communist state comprising the tribal areas of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orrissa and Madhya Pradesh.

It has targeted landlords, charging them with the exploitation of poor people. More than 6,000 people have died in the violence between left-wing groups and police during the past two decades.

The government in Andhra Pradesh has said it is willing to hold talks with the PWG.

Authorities say they are also developing new strategies to fight rural poverty which, they believe, is the main cause of the violence.

See also:

31 Jul 01 | South Asia
Talks offer for Andhra Pradesh rebels
04 Apr 00 | South Asia
Call to ban leftist rebels
01 Nov 00 | South Asia
Women 'rebels' killed in India
16 Dec 99 | South Asia
State minister killed by rebels
10 Dec 99 | South Asia
Concession to Andhra Pradesh rebels
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