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Page last updated at 07:00 GMT, Tuesday, 6 October 2009 08:00 UK

Maoists kill kidnapped policeman

Maoist rebels in Chhattisgarh
Maoists have a presence in more than 200 districts of India

The body of a policeman, kidnapped last week by Maoist rebels in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand, has been found, police and the rebels say.

Inspector Francis Indvaar, 52, was taken last week from Khunti area as he shopped in a local market.

The rebels later offered to release him in exchange for three of their leaders who are in police custody, a demand rejected by the authorities.

The rebels operate in more than 200 districts across large parts of India.

They say they are fighting for the rights of poor peasants and landless workers.

More than 6,000 people have died during the Maoists' 20-year fight for a communist state in parts of India.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has described the Maoist insurgency as the "single biggest threat" to India's security.

'Arrest'

Inspector Indvaar's body was recovered from the dense forests of Taimara on the Ranchi-Jamshedpur highway on Tuesday morning, police said.

They said he was killed on Monday night.

The rebels had offered to release him in exchange for Kobad Ghandy, Chhatradhar Mahato and Chandra Bhushan Yadav - three senior Maoists who are currently in custody.

"We did not kidnap the inspector, we arrested him," a senior Maoist leader, Samarji, told BBC Hindi.

Samarji warned of more similar "arrests" of policemen unless three Maoist leaders currently in police custody were released.



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