As I’ve mentioned before, managing a country the size of India from the centre is no easy task. But one of the main ongoing challenges to central government authority took a particularly troubling turn with an incident Monday.
Indian authorities have been fighting Maoist separatist rebels known as Naxals or Naxalites for decades now in a conflict that has claimed at least 2000 people in the past few years, according to some sources. But the attack on a police camp that claimed 24 officers’ lives was a particularly audacious move and far exceeded the second-highest single tally of seven officers.
As the Statesman newspaper reports:
‘According to police, about 70 Maoists riding motorcycles came in front of the camp located inside the Silda Primary Health Centre around 5 p.m. today.
‘They cordoned off the camp and later set off a powerful landmine in a urinal outside it. The camp caught fire immediately after the explosion. The [officers] who were resting in the camp or playing football in the hospital ground, rushed out and were fired at by the Maoists.
‘An eyewitness said the Maoists, whose faces were covered with black cloth, fired indiscriminately at the [officers who] died on the spot.’