2011-03-07. BBC. Life in an Indian Maoist jungle camp

The BBC’s Suvojit Bagchi, who was granted unprecedented access to a Maoist camp in the depths of the Chhattisgarh jungle, describes the rebels’ precarious life.

After eight hours of walking in dense forest, in the early evening we entered a narrow, barren stretch of land hemmed in by hillocks.

At the far end stood a few blue and yellow tents.

Somji, one of the men who collected me between a small town in south Chhattisgarh and the thick central Indian forest, picked up speed as we approached.

A tall man standing guard with a rifle flung over his shoulder whistled and people started rushing towards us.

In under a minute, the camp members stood in formation and began singing a welcome song.

Each member in the queue raised their fist to whisper “lal salaam” – “red salute”.

Mostly aged between 15 and 30 years old, the men and women in the camp wore rubber sandals, olive green battle fatigues and carried guns of various makes.

India’s Maoist rebels say they are fighting for the rights of indigenous tribespeople and the rural poor.

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