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Last Updated: Friday, 19 August 2005, 14:29 GMT 15:29 UK
India state in key Maoist arrests
Varavara Rao
Varavara Rao shouted "long live revolution" on his arrest
Police in India's state of Andhra Pradesh have arrested five writers said to be supporters of the newly banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

The head of the Revolutionary Writers Association (Virasam), Kalyan Rao, and the poet, Varavara Rao, were among those arrested.

Varavara Rao shouted "long live revolution" as he was detained.

The state government re-imposed a ban on the Maoist party on Wednesday amid continuing violence.

The government also banned what it said were six front organisations.

Dawn raid

The writers association, also known as Virasam, which the government says has links to the rebels, was also banned.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy
Two days before the arrests Mr Reddy banned the Maoist group

Varavara Rao has denied any such links and said he would challenge his arrest and the ban on Virasam in the courts.

The poet, who with Kalyan Rao had helped organise peace talks between the rebels and the state government which broke down in January, shouted "down with illegal arrests" as he was led away in state capital Hyderabad at dawn.

Plain clothes policemen had earlier knocked at the poet's house at 0300 local time on Friday (2130 GMT Thursday).

But his family refused to open the gates.

Later, another police team reached the poet's house and handed him a copy of the government order banning Virasam.

Varavara Rao was jailed for two years in the 1980s on charges of waging a war and conspiring against the state. He was later acquitted by a court.

Peace talks between the state and the rebels collapsed in January with the Maoists saying elite police units were detaining their members and killing them in staged or faked shootouts.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy banned the Maoist party on Wednesday, two days after 10 people, including a lawmaker, were killed by suspected rebels.

The rebels are pressing for the creation of a communist state comprising tribal areas in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Bihar and Chhattisgarh.


SEE ALSO:
Indian state ban on Maoist group
17 Aug 05 |  South Asia
'Maoists' kill Indian politician
15 Aug 05 |  South Asia
Why peace collapsed in Andhra Pradesh
20 Jan 05 |  South Asia
Key Indian Maoist groups unite
08 Oct 04 |  South Asia
India's Maoist revolutionaries
08 Apr 04 |  South Asia


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