Thursday, March 13, 2008

Jailed Maoists in Chhattisgarh on hunger strike

Indo-Asian News Service
Raipur, March 13, 2008
First Published: 14:03 IST(13/3/2008)
Last Updated: 14:12 IST(13/3/2008)

A group of Maoists in a Chhattisgarh jail have started an indefinite hunger strike to oppose a decision by the authorities to shift some of them to another jail.

Five of the 35 inmates who started the protest were taken to a hospital on Thursday after their conditions worsened, the police said.

About 60 Maoists are lodged in the central jail in Ambikapur town, district headquarters of Surguja district. The hunger strike started Sunday after the jail authorities decided early last week to shift 17 of their colleagues, including three women, to Bilaspur central jail.

"Five rebels were rushed to district government hospital Ambikapur because of their fast deteriorating health condition. They are refusing to take either water or food," said an official source at Ambikapur jail.

"Some of them were shifted to Bilaspur from Ambikapur for security reasons," Girdhari Nayak, inspector general, Maoist operation, told IANS by phone.

He said, "The rebels at Ambikapur jail wanted certain facilities such as the use of mobile phones which the authorities could not permit."

In December last, a group of jailed Maoist commanders engineered a daring jailbreak in the state's southern Dantewada town in which 299 inmates including over 100 rebels escaped. Police re-arrested several inmates facing minor charges but the rebels are still at large.

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