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Last Updated: Friday, 8 October, 2004, 08:15 GMT 09:15 UK
Key Indian Maoist groups unite
By Subir Bhaumik
BBC correspondent in Calcutta

Preparations for the People's War Group rally
The PWG is particularly strong in Andhra Pradesh
Two key Indian Maoist groups have decided to merge into a single party, a rebel leader said.

The People's War Group (PWG) and the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC), which are active in a number of states, will form a new party, the leader said.

The decision came at the end of a three-day forum of Maoist groups in the eastern city of Calcutta.

Members of about another 150 radical leftist organisations also attended the meeting against imperialism.

PWG spokesman, Comrade Sagar, whose real name is not known, told the BBC that the new party would be formed within a month after its political programme and the party constitution were finalised.

It is true that we have now organised most of the communist revolutionaries in India
Comrade Sagar,
PWG spokesman

He said two smaller factions of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) would also merge into the new party.

Comrade Sagar said the latest unity move of the Indian Maoists would give them a bigger base, though some smaller groups still retained their identities.

"Some smaller factions still remain outside our unity efforts. They are also revolutionaries. But it is true that we have now organised most of the communist revolutionaries in India," he said.

The PWG is preparing for negotiations with some state governments but the MCC still backs an armed struggle.


A woman member of the PWG
The PWG is holding talks with Andhra Pradesh on 15 October

Both the groups have agreed to morally and physically support the Maoists in Nepal.

The 150 organisations represented, including the All India People's Resistance Forum, the Struggling Forum for People's Resistance and the All India League for Revolutionary Culture, agreed to challenge globalisation and liberalisation of the Indian economy.

They said they would continue struggling for the economic and cultural empowerment of India's working class.

The PWG has considerable influence in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar, while the MCC is strongest in Bihar.

Both groups have pockets of influence in West Bengal.

The Indian federal government is worried about the growing area of influence of leftist groups.

The home ministry recently convened a conference of chief ministers of Maoist-affected states and advocated a coordinated approach to fight them.

However, Andhra Pradesh has established its first direct talks with the PWG, which will begin on 15 October.

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