Rebels attack village festival in India

Suspected communist rebels attacked a village festival in eastern India with gunfire and bombs today, killing at least 17 people, a news report said.

Suspected communist rebels attacked a village festival in eastern India with gunfire and bombs today, killing at least 17 people, a news report said.

A group of about 25 Maoist rebels attacked a cultural festival in the remote eastern state of Jharkhand this morning, opening fire indiscriminately on the crowd, the Press Trust of India news agency quoted police as saying.

Local police chief Arun Kumar Singh told PTI that 14 people were killed at the scene and that three others died later.

Four more people were wounded, he said.

Among the dead was the son of former Jharkhand chief minister Babulal Marandi, Singh told PTI.

It was not clear if he was the target of the attack by the rebels, who frequently target police and government officials. Local police could not immediately be reached for comment.

The rebels, also known as Naxalites because of the Naxalbari region where the movement was born, are mainly active in six of India’s 28 states – Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Karnataka, Orissa and Chattisgarh – where widespread poverty has fuelled a lengthy insurgency by militants demanding land and jobs for agricultural labourers and the poor.

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