Reuters reports that Maoist rebels in India killed 75 policemen in a recent ambush, the latest in an ongoing string of deadly attacks. The Maoist insurgency has cost India hundreds of lives and hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years through targeted bombings and attacks. From Reuters:
Maoists regularly attack rail lines and factories, hurting business potentially worth billions of dollars in mineral-rich and often remote regions. They extort more than $300 million from companies every year, the government says.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has described the Maoists as the gravest threat to India’s internal security, and voiced his “shock” at Tuesday’s attack. The rebels carried out more than 1,000 attacks last year, killing more than 600 people.
The rebels number between 6,000 and 8,000 hardcore fighters in nearly a third of India’s 630 districts. While they have made few inroads into cities, they have spread into rural pockets in 20 of 28 states.
Tuesday’s attack echoed a similar ambush in February, when Maoists caught police off guard in a daylight attack in the state of West Bengal, killing at least two dozen police.
On Sunday, rebels triggered a land mine blast that killed 10 police in the mineral-rich eastern state of Orissa.
Maoists say they are fighting for the rights of poor farmers and landless labourers and are trying to expand their influence in east, central and southern India. Thousands have been killed in the insurgency since the late 1960s.
One wonders how much of that $300 million actually makes it to the poor farmers the Maoists claim to fight for. The fact is, most socialist or communist “revolutions” amount to little more than groups of armed thugs, ostensibly separated by other groups of armed thugs only by its particular ideological dogma. In terms of tactics (murder, extortion, kidnapping, gun-running, etc.), they are virtually identical to terrorist cells or an organized crime syndicate. See also: Germany’s Red Army Faction and Columbia’s FARC.