India: discontent, poverty fueling Naxalite rebels(Read article summary)
A government-appointed committee says violence by the Maoist insurgency is growing and urges the government to talk with rebels.
Amid increasing violence sparked by India's Maoist insurgency, politicians and observers have called for leaders to tackle the causes of the rebel movement: poverty, landlessness, and unemployment.
India's Maoist revolt, or Naxalism, is thought to have killed thousands since it began in the 1960s. Some 13 of India's 29 states have been affected by the insurgency. India's prime minister, Manmohan Singh, has previously described the movement as the biggest domestic security threat facing the country. Since surprise Maoist wins in Nepal's general elections last month, there have been fears in India that the Naxalites would be emboldened by that victory.
New government figures also show that Naxalite violence is on the rise, reports the website of Zee News, an Indian TV channel. Some 698 deaths were reported in 2007, compared with 678 the previous year. The rise was attributed to a greater use of improvised explosive devices and land mines by the rebels and more attacks.
On Monday, the Times of India reported that a high-level committee appointed by the central government had urged the government to focus on the discontentment that fuels Naxalism. The report was written by members of the Planning Commission, an Indian policy think tank. It also urged the government to seek peace talks with Naxalite leaders.