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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 October, 2004, 15:17 GMT 16:17 UK
Date set for India Maoist talks
PWG rally in July
Show of strength: A PWG rally earlier this year
A date has been announced for the first direct peace talks between Maoist rebels in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh and the state government.

The government says the talks will be held on 15 October.

Correspondents say that for the first time in 25 years of fighting, leaders of the People's War Group (PWG) will come out of hiding to negotiate.

Last week thousands of people rallied in support of the PWG and its allies in the state capital, Hyderabad.

It was the first public rally by the PWG in Hyderabad for nearly 15 years.

It was joined by another rebel group, Janashakti.

Wide agenda

Just a year ago the PWG tried to assassinate then chief minister of the state, Chandrababu Naidu.

The Maoists have been given an assurance of safe passage for the talks, which are to be held in Hyderabad.

The rebels have a wide-ranging agenda, including land redistribution and tribal autonomy.

Mr Naidu's successor in office, the Congress Party, lifted a ban on the Maoists and offered the peace talks.

Andhra Pradesh is a stronghold of the PWG, but the group is active in six other states spread across northern, central and southern India.

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20 Jun 03  |  South Asia

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