To discuss this, Inside Story, with presenter Hazem Sika, is joined by guests: Ashok Mehta, a retired Indian army general; Rani Singh, a South Asia security analyst; and Kishalay Bhattacharjee, a journalist and specialist on the Maoist rebel movement.
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Broadcast on Jun 1, 2013.
The Indian government is preparing for an all-out anti-Maoist offensive following attacks last Saturday, in which several top Congress Party leaders were killed in Bastar. At least 19 people were killed when a convoy was ambushed in a dense forest, and the Maoists, also known as Naxals or Naxalites, are threatening to carry out more attacks. The Maoists are inspired by the communist ideology of China's late Chairman Mao Zedong.
They have been fighting India's federal and provincial governments for more than four decades, demanding land and jobs for the poor and often marginalised farmers. So, while the Indian government tries to put down an insurgency it considers to be its greatest internal security threat, we ask: Is a military response the only option? And what will this mean for the world's biggest democracy?