Police: Maoist Rebels Fatally Shoot Indian Lawmaker

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Maoist insurgents fatally shot a state lawmaker visiting a tribal area in southern India on Sunday after the insurgents put up posters warning politicians not to travel there, police said.

At least 40 Maoist rebels were involved in the attack on Kidari Sarveshwara Rao, an Andhra Pradesh state assembly member from the ruling Telugu Desam party, according to Visakhapatanam district police superintendent Rahul Dev Sharma.

The lawmaker was visiting interior tribal areas about 700 kilometers (435 miles) northeast of the state capital, Hyderabad. Former lawmaker Siveri Soma was also killed in the attack.

The killings are the latest in a long-simmering conflict between the Communist Party of India Maoist group and the Indian government.

The rebels, inspired by Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong, have been fighting the government for more than four decades, demanding land and jobs for tenant farmers, the poor and indigenous communities.

The government banned CPI as a terrorist organization in 2009.

In March, at least 10 members of the Maoist party were killed in a major operation by police in Telangana state, which neighbors Andhra Pradesh in southern India.

Although no one has claimed responsibility for Sunday's attack, the shooting bears all the signs of the Maoist group, Sharma said. No arrests have been made.

Andhra Pradesh's top elected official, N. Chandrababu Naidi, condemned the attack in a statement.

Police from Maharashtra state carried out raids across India in late August, arresting intellectuals and human rights activists in Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi, Goa and other places alleging they had links with Maoists. Vara Vara Rao, a revolutionary poet, is among five still being held under house arrest on allegations that he was part of a plot to assassinate Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Rao has denied the allegations.

Source: Voice of America