Indian communist rebels blow up politician's house, killing one

Suspected communist rebels blew up the house of a politician in India's eastern Orissa state, killing one person and destroying the seven-room structure, police said Thursday. Arbind Dhali, a former state assembly member who belongs to the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, was not at home at the time of the attack.

More than 100 armed rebels raided Dhali's house in Kalimela village in Malkangiri district late Wednesday night, overpowered his security guards and attached dynamite sticks to the house and blew it up, said Suchit Das, the Orissa police chief.

He said there was a shootout between the guards and the rebels before the guards were overpowered. A villager caught in the crossfire was killed, Das said.

The rebels fled, taking the security guards' automatic guns and ammunition with them, Das said. Police are hunting for the attackers, he said.

Kalimela is about 650 kilometers (405 miles) south of Orissa's capital, Bhubaneshwar.

The attack was the second on property belonging to Dhali. Rebels blew up a farmhouse in Malkangiri belonging to him in 2003. Dhali was elected to the state assembly from Malkangiri four times between 1985 and 2004.

Although no one claimed responsibility for the attack, Das said the men were suspected to be members of the Maoist Communist Center, the largest and most active group of communist rebels in India.

The rebels, who claim to be inspired by Chinese revolutionary Mao Zedong, have been fighting for more than three decades, demanding land and jobs for poor agricultural laborers.

They often target police, politicians and government officials, accusing them of colluding with landlords and rich farmers to exploit the poor, reports the AP. I.L.

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