New Delhi: Five policemen were shot dead Friday by suspected Maoist rebels in eastern Jharkhand state, authorities said, the latest incident of violence in the decades-long conflict.
The policemen were patrolling in a market when the rebels disarmed them and shot them at close range, senior Jharkhand police official M. L Meena told AFP.
"Five of our men were killed and their arms looted by the attackers," Meena said, adding the group of militants fled after the shooting and reinforcements had been sent to catch them.
Jharkhand is among India´s most improvised but mineral rich states, where guerrillas are fighting the Indian state for greater rights, including for land, resources and jobs.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed since the 1960s in armed clashes between security forces and guerrillas, first inspired by Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong.
The Maoists insurgents are believed to be present in at least 20 Indian states but are most active in Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and Bihar.
The government has deployed thousands of policemen and special commandos to take on the armed rebels active in forests and hills across the states.
On Thursday police in Chhattisgarh state said they shot dead two Maoists in a gunfight.
A bomb attack in western Maharashtra state on May 1 left 16 police commandos dead. -APP/AFP