India Maoist rebels abduct Andhra Pradesh politicians

Maoist rebels train with guns in Chhattisgarh Image copyright AP
Image caption The Maoist insurgency has been described as India's biggest internal security threat

Maoist rebels have abducted three politicians from the governing party in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

The men were captured after they agreed to meet the rebels for discussions, police officials said.

It is suspected that the kidnappings are to protest against government plans to start bauxite mining in the state.

The Maoists say they are fighting for Communist rule and greater rights for tribespeople and the rural poor.

Their insurgency began in the eastern state of West Bengal in the late 1960s, spreading to more than one-third of India's 600-plus districts.

A report in The Hindu newspaper said that before the kidnapping, Maoists had sent the state government a letter demanding an immediate halt to its bauxite mining plans.

There had been an increase in rebel activity ever since the mining plans were announced, the report added.

"We have verified [the information]. The only possibility is the Maoists will take them in the deep interior forest area towards the border of East Godavari district... We are waiting for Maoists to put forth their demands [for the release of the leaders]," Visakhapatnam district superintendent of police K Praveen told the Press Trust of India news agency.

"The leaders had gone to meet the Maoists after they were assured by the rebels that they would not be harmed, but now, they have been held captive," he said.

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