NEW DELHI – Government troops in western India have killed at least six Maoist rebels in a gunbattle, raising the total death toll of rebels killed over the last three days to 22.
Prashant Diwate, a police officer in Maharashtra state’s Gadchiroli area, said the latest killings took place early Tuesday morning. Sixteen rebels were killed in the same area on Sunday.
Diwate said that police and paramilitary soldiers had been combing the area for the last few days.
The Maoist rebels, who claim inspiration from Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong, have been fighting India’s government for more than four decades, demanding land and jobs for tenant farmers and the poor. With thousands of fighters, the rebels are active in several parts of India.