Rebels in India open arms factories

Naxalite rebels in the Indian state of Bihar have made a serious progress and are now building clandestine small arms factories, according to the state security services quoted in the Asian Age.

The allegations about the Maoist-inspired rebels, who operate in one of India's most backward states, were confirmed by official sources. The news comes as Bihar state prepares for assembly elections starting next month.

The sources say that the traditional channels for refurbishment of arms for the Naxalites have until now been Nepal's Maoist rebels, who control large tracts of the country, or internal suppliers who control the black market in illegal weapons in Bihar and neighbouring states.

Bihar state borders Nepal and the Nepalese Maoists and the Naxalites have alredy set up a coordinating committee. Bihar represents the head of the so-called Red Corridor, a swathe of territory crossing India from north to south but also touching areas to the east and west.

A total of 13 of India's 35 states face problems with Maoist revolutionaries and the problem has reached such proportions that the central government last week summoned the heads of the states involved to push for the creation of a coordination unit to fight the rebels.

In some remote rural areas of Bihar, the Naxalites are so much in control that they levy taxes and in the north of the state have built dams and control large irrigation networks, the AKI reports.

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