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Govt vows Maoist rebels won't ruin India elections

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March 12, 2014 03:25 AM EST | AP


NEW DELHI (AP) — India's home minister says the government will not allow Maoist rebels to spoil next month's national elections with violent attacks.

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde assured voters there would be adequate security for the vote, a day after rebels killed 16 people in Chhattisgarh state.

It was the deadliest rebel attack in almost a year. Police initially said 20 were killed but revised the toll early Wednesday to 15 law enforcement officers and one civilian.

The national government has issued warnings to leaders in 20 of India's 28 states where the rebels operate.

The rebels have been fighting more than three decades for a greater share of wealth from the area's natural resources and more jobs for the poor. They say they are inspired by Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong.