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Guerilla War in the Shadow of Bollywood

SOUTH BASTAR, India — Two years ago, Comrade Sunil used his given name and spent half the day at school, the remainder working the red fields of his ancestral village.

But his life changed one night when he found his home torched and older brother dead outside, purportedly shot by state-sponsored civilian militia on the pretext of being a Maoist sympathizer.

Warming by a campfire deep in the mountain jungles of southern Chhattisgarh state, the 18-year-old member of the People's Liberation Guerrilla Army vowed to never give up the homemade rifle lying in his lap.

India's Maoists Shift to Attacks on Police

NEW DELHI — Faced with setbacks in their former stronghold, India's Maoist insurgents have responded with a new war strategy that favors large-scale attacks on police forces and high-profile-target killings.

The latest in a series of recent strikes came late last month when 19 persons, including the youngest son of former state Chief Minister Babulal Marandi, were gunned down at a village cultural event in eastern Jharkhand state.

India: Into the Wild

No story on the Naxalite conflict would be complete without meeting the insurgents themselves. From Delhi to Dantewada I'd been alternately told they were: a) champions of the powerless, ready to talk b) scheming profiteers who would take me hostage for ransom if given the chance c) thugs sure to slit my throat.

India: Camping by the Road

Dantewada lies at the axis of three roads. Today each of these roads are lined with government-run refugee camps, home to at least 50,000 villagers -- mostly tribals -- that have been relocated since Salwa Judum began. Far from a sign of state control, the camps exist because authorities have defaulted control of vast swathes of the backcountry where Naxalites roam.

Of the 22 official camps throughout the south Bastar region, Dornapal is by far the largest. Row upon row of mud and sheet metal barracks shelter more than 17,000 people, though there are surely many more.

Poor Take Up Arms with Rebels as Guerrillas Strike at Heart of India

SOUTH BASTAR — Two years ago, Comrade Sunil used his given name and spent half the day at school, the remainder working the red fields of his ancestral village.

This all changed one night when he found his home torched and his brother dead outside, allegedly shot by state-sponsored civilian militia on the pretext of being a Maoist sympathiser.

India: Trouble in Paradise

The bus ride from Hyderabad to Dantewada, the main town of Chhattisgarh's southern Bastar region, took about 16 hours. As the suburbs fell away, the smooth pavement on the road disappeared as well, but the lush beauty of the countryside that seemed to intensify with each mile made up for it.

When I awoke to a pale morning, I had the sensation of hurtling deeper into vortex of green.