Indian rebels issue demands over police hostage

The body of Indian policeman after he was shot by Maoists

KOLKATA — Maoist rebels holding a policeman hostage in eastern India demanded on Wednesday that jailed ethnic tribal women be freed from prison in return for the officer's release.
Nearly a dozen armed Maoists killed two officers and abducted another in an attack on a police station in West Bengal on Tuesday.
"We will not kill the abducted police officer. He will remain hostage until the release of tribal women who have been falsely charged with sedition," a Maoist leader known only as Kishanji told Bengali TV channel Chabbis Ghanta.
Kishanji said the rebels would continue to attack police officers unless the state government withdrew security forces from Lalgarh, an area previously under Maoist control.
Maoist-linked violence has already claimed over 600 lives this year with rebels staging a slew of raids against police targets despite some successes by security forces in arresting or killing a number of senior members.
The rebels, thought to number as many as 20,000, say they fight for the rights of the rural poor but officials accuse them of using intimidation and extortion to collect money and to control impoverished villagers.