Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Bihar politicians resign en masse

Sixty-four local politicians have resigned in the Indian state of Bihar following threats from Maoist rebels.

Last week the Maoists abducted many of them for a few days in a protest against alleged police abuses in the district of Gaya.

The Maoists have a strong presence in Gaya, which is known as the place where the Buddha is said to have gained enlightenment.

The rebels are active in nearly one half of Bihar's 38 districts.

'Faced elimination'

The 64 politicians handed in their notice on Sunday in a ceremony in Gaya, following the release of those who had been kidnapped.

The Maoists told them that if they did not resign, "they would be eliminated".

The Maoists drew up the politicians' resignation letters and ordered them to read them out in public.

The statements condemned "police atrocities and false implications of innocent people in [Maoist]-related cases", and the "arbitrary, whimsical and allegedly highhanded attitude of officials".

The statements also criticised the "government's failure to protect the honour and dignity of local leaders".

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said the incident would be investigated.

Over 1,000 people have died in Maoist-related violence in Bihar in the last 15 years.

The Maoists are active in several other states in India.

They say they are fighting for the rights of poor peasants and landless workers.

No comments: