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Wednesday, 1 November, 2000, 16:31 GMT
Women 'rebels' killed in India
Map
By Omer Farooq in Hyderabad

At least seven women, suspected to belong to a left wing rebel group, have been killed in a clash with police in southern India.

The encounter took place when police raided a secret camp of the outlawed People's War Group (PWG) in a forest in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

A police spokesman said the camp was located 200 km north of the state capital Hyderabad, in the state's northern Karimnagar district.

According to the spokesman, police surrounded a suspected PWG camp but were fired on from those inside the camp.

The police returned fire, killing seven women - all suspected members of the PWG.

Some arms and ammunition have been recovered from the site.

Police teams are currently combing the area to track down other members of the outlawed group.

This is believed to be the first time that so many women PWG members have been killed in a single clash with the security forces.

Armed rebellion

Two other PWG members are reported to have been killed in two separate incidents in the state.

The PWG, a Maoist-Leninist organisation, was created by a teacher turned communist leader - Kondapally Seetharamaiah - in 1980.

It has been waging an armed rebellion for the creation of a communist state comprising tribal areas of Andhra Pradesh, Mahrashtra, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh.

The group targets feudal landlords whom they hold responsible for the exploitation of the poor.

More than 6,000 people have died in violence between PWG activists and police during the past two decades.

Police officials say that there may be about 3,000 armed leftist rebels still active in Andhra Pradesh and neighbouring states.

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See also:

16 Dec 99 | South Asia
State minister killed by rebels
10 Dec 99 | South Asia
Concession to Andhra Pradesh rebels
01 Dec 99 | South Asia
Four dead in mine blast
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