» 06/23/2009, 00.00
Maoist rebels call for truce as military advances on their positions in West Bengal
The Indian government has added the Communist Party of India (Maoist) on its terrorist groups list. In Midnapore District the military is carrying out an operation to recapture villages taken over by the rebels. The Maoist movement is present in 13 of India’s 28 states. Since 2005 at least 3,000 people have died in attacks carried out by the rebels.
Thousands of tourists stranded in "tea country" by ethnic protests
Darjeeling and other districts of western Bengal are paralyzed by a strike of the ethnic Gorkha party. They are asking for the creation of an independent state, and are accusing the ruling Marxists of aggression. There are not even enough vehicles available to take tourists to the airport.
Salesians offer training to young people to save them from Maoist guerrillas
At the request of Paschim Medinipur district magistrate, the Salesians have organized training courses for young people without a job. The attempt is to provide them with the skills necessary to resist Maoist influence.
Maoists confess their crimes on Buddha’s birthday
In Buddha’s birthplace of Kapilvastu, Nepal’s main political parties confess their sins and pledge their commitment to peace. Maoist leader Prachanda is accused however of leading a still violent group.
People continue to die in Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal over land
In Andhra Pradesh police fire at leftwing groups who want land distribution for the poor; eight people are killed. In West Bengal clashes between supporters of the state’s leftwing administration and local farmers defending their land continue. Appeals are made to the central government to take action against the two states.
A tsunami called "Mamata." High hopes for the new government of West Bengal.
After the historic defeat of the Communist Party in the last elections, expectations and hopes of the poor and marginalized are high, but for Jesuit Father Jothi SJ, the new government must move beyond the big talk and focus on "education, health and entitlements on a priority basis" for his people.
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