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Maoist rebels spread across rural India

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Many beleaguered villagers have fled the area. Others, including the Kumars, are scrounging together money to move to the city. In parts of India, fearful villagers have reportedly abandoned whole villages.

Aiming to bring the fight to cities

Recent reports suggest that this rural insurgency is slowly, yet inexorably, spreading into four more states, with what analysts see is a long-term plan to extend their red corridor – called the "Compact Revolutionary Zone" – throughout India. Their ultimate stated goal is to capture India's cities and overthrow Parliament. In an interview last year with The Telegraph newspaper, a national daily, a member of the Maoist Central Committee named "Comrade Dhruba" said, "Our mass base is getting ready. After five years, we will launch our strikes."

While most observers doubt the Naxalites can directly threaten urban India, the guerrilla attacks are becoming more audacious – and lethal. Rebels attack in large numbers – much like the Maoists of Nepal, with whom they're suspected to have links – often to overwhelm their target.

Attacks on police forces, train hijacking, and brutal beheadings are common. Just last month, India witnessed its worst spasm of Naxalite violence. In the thick of the night, nearly 800 armed Maoists sprayed bullets, killing 32, in an anti-Maoist relief camp in the Indian state of Chattisgarh – an impoverished region most affected by Naxalite violence.

While the insurgents garner support mainly through fear, Mr. Chakma says, some people in the hinterlands relate to and support them because they champion the cause of the poor at the bottom rung of India's caste and class hierarchy.

In remote, interior villages, Naxalites claim to distribute sacks of pulses to the masses, collect funds to run schools, and organize mass weddings for the impoverished. They also target corrupt officials, despotic landlords, and loan sharks.

Sluggish courts vs. swift Naxalites
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