NEW DELHI, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Maoist rebels in India have said they will stop some of their more brutal methods of killing, including the slitting of throats.
A senior rebel leader told the BBC the group will shoot their enemies, mostly security and police forces personnel and civilians suspected of aiding government authorities, instead of hacking people to death or cutting their throats.
The leader said there has been a dispute among the rebels over methods for killing enemies and suspected enemies since the slaying of special branch inspector Francis Induwar, the BBC reported.
Induwar was abducted by Naxalite rebels while at a market in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand in September 2009. His headless body was found the following month on a narrow country road.
There were reports that the Naxalites, often called Maoists, were negotiating with the government for a prisoner exchange, NDTV reported at the time. The Maoists had been demanding the release of its three top leaders -- Kobad Ghandy, Chhatradhar Mahato and Chandra Bhushan Yadav.
But Home Minister P. Chidambaram said there had been no demand for a swap of prisoners, NDTV said.
"We have now gradually started to do away with such methods which are considered cruel," Communist Party of India-Maoist spokesman Manas, who uses only one name, told the BBC.
"Our armed squad guerrillas have been asked to refrain from being cruel during encounters with security forces or dealing with police informers or for that matter people whom we consider as our class enemies."
But the brutal slayings continue, especially in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh states where Maoists are most active, reported the BBC. Rebels recently chopped off the hands of two shepherds suspected of being police informers. They also recently hacked to death a member of an anti-insurgent vigilante group. Police said rebels left a note the man had killed local tribal people in 2006.
Manas told the BBC he wasn't sure who carried out the attack on the shepherds in Jharkhand because splinter rebel groups operate in the state.
The Naxalite and other rebel groups claim to be fighting for the rights of tribal peoples, mostly in India's remote and poor northeastern states. The local people aren't benefiting natural resource exploitation which also is destroying their traditional village cultures.
In 2010 there were several major attacks by Maoists including a train derailment that killed more than 150 people. In another attack, Maoists killed 26 policemen and last year dismembered 10 police officers in Chhattisgarh state.
Rebels also pursue less brutal methods to persuade people not to work on government infrastructure projects.
Last month around 50 rebels severely beat two construction workers on a bridge project and dragged another worker out of his house, away from his family, and beat him in the street, The Times of India reported.
Also last month, Maoist leaders in Jharkhand denied government reports they were forcing their lower-rank cadres to have vasectomies to keep them fighting for their cause and not wishing to marry.
Some individual leaders or cadres could have undergone the procedure voluntarily but that must not be linked with the party's stand at all," Manas told The Times of India.
"We have been supporting inter-caste marriages and have well laid-out guidelines for maternity leave for the female cadres. There is no question of stopping people from raising a family," he said.