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23 left-wing rebels surrender in central India

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As many as 23 left-wing Naxalite rebels have surrendered to authorities in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh, police said Monday.

"Of the 23 who laid down arms, five were hardcore rebels. The surrender took place during the weekend in the state's Narayanpur district. They have been in touch with the authorities for some time and were willing to come to the mainstream of the society," a police official said.

Chhattisgarh is often hit by Naxalite violence.

The rebels say they are fighting for land rights for tribal people and the rural poor. Their insurgency began in the eastern state of West Bengal in late 1960s, spreading to more than one-third of India's 600-plus administrative districts.

Though major offensives by security forces in recent years have pushed the rebels back to their forest strongholds and the levels of violence have fallen, but hit-and-run attacks are still common.

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