RAIPUR - Indian security forces Monday killed 14 suspected Maoist rebels in a raid deep inside the forests of Chhattisgarh state, as the government intensified its crackdown.

The police launched the operation after a tip-off about the presence of some 100 armed rebels inside two camps in a forested area of Sukma district.

“Fourteen Maoists have been killed in the operation, their bodies have also been recovered,” said D. M. Awasthi, the state’s anti-Maoist police force chief.

Another gunfight with the rebels was going on at a nearby spot, Awasthi told AFP, without revealing more information.

India’s Maoist insurgency began in the 1960s and has cost thousands of lives in the simmering violence.

A government security crackdown on the rebels since the start of the year has led to several casualties in the tribal areas across mainly five states.

Last month, eight Maoist rebels including four women fighters were killed near Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district.

And ambushes on rebel camps over two days in April killed 37 Maoist fighters in western Maharashtra state.

The rebels - also known as Naxals - say they are fighting for the rights of the indigenous tribal people, including the right to land, resources and jobs.

So far this year, some 152 rebels have been killed by security forces, according to the Institute for Conflict Management, a Delhi-based non-profit group.

The insurgency has also cost the lives of 69 civilians and 55 security men as of July 31.

Critics say government attempts to end the revolt through tough offensives are doomed to fail and that the real solution is better governance and development of the region.