Skip to main content

20 police feared dead in Maoist attack in India

By Harmeet Shah Singh, CNN
updated 8:19 AM EDT, Tue March 11, 2014
  • Morning attack targets a police security team
  • The victims include state and armed federal officials
  • India's home minister describes the rebels as a "major threat" to national security

(CNN) -- At least 20 police officers were feared killed Tuesday in a Maoist raid in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh, authorities said.

"Unconfirmed sources tell us 20 policemen have lost their lives," said Arun Dev Gautam, the state police inspector general.

The morning attack targeted a police security team of about 40 personnel in Sukma district, he said.

Gautam didn't rule out the use of landmines in the assault believed to involve 200 rebel fighters.

The Maoists ambushed the police team, which included state and armed federal personnel, as it provided security to construction workers, he said.

At a police conference in New Delhi in November, India's home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde described the rebels as a "major threat" to national security.

At least 97 security personnel and as many guerrillas were killed in Maoist assaults last year, he said.

The rebels, officials say, aim to seize power through an armed liberation struggle.

Since the 1960s, the militants have said they are fighting for the dispossessed.

Authorities suspect that Maoists enjoy support not only in the poorest areas and in tribal communities, but also among youth and intellectuals.

In addition to targeting police, alleged police informers and people they call "class enemies," the insurgents also attack infrastructure such as roads, bridges, railways, and power and telecommunication networks.

In 2013: Indian politician suffered brutal treatment in Maoist attack

Part of complete coverage on
updated 6:19 PM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
China and likely other countries have the capacity to shut down the U.S. power grid, says the NSA.
updated 8:21 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
If it wasn't for a comic's skit, Bill Cosby would still be America's favorite father, says expert.
updated 10:50 AM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
Obama orders the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. immigration in decades, prioritizing the deportation of "felons, not families."
updated 4:06 PM EST, Tue November 18, 2014
Fighters loyal to ISIS are now in control of Derna, a city on Libya's Mediterranean coast.
updated 2:45 PM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
The founder of a U.S. nonprofit that works with returning soldiers is named CNN's Hero of the Year.
updated 8:24 AM EST, Mon November 17, 2014
It's a very big challenge but NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan thinks it can be done.
updated 7:39 PM EST, Sun November 16, 2014
CNN's Atika Shubert explains how the most recent ISIS video differs from the other previous hostage execution videos.
updated 12:38 PM EST, Mon November 17, 2014
A Syrian cleric condemns ISIS and its execution of U.S. hostage Peter Kassig.
updated 12:20 PM EST, Sun November 16, 2014
Volunteer fighters in eastern Ukraine dig down just 800 meters from the front line.
updated 12:29 PM EST, Tue November 18, 2014
TV anchor wears the same suit for a year. Female colleague wears new outfit daily. Who gets criticized?
updated 7:04 AM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.