(dpa) - At least two people were killed in India's eastern state of Jharkhand on Saturday when Maoists protesting against rising food prices fired at trucks on a highway, news reports said.
Police told the IANS news agency that two assistants of truck drivers were killed in the attack in Seraikela Kharsawan district over 200 kilometres south-east of state capital Ranchi.
A third truck plunged into a roadside ditch after its driver, in an attempt to escape the gunfire, lost control of the vehicle. The Maoists set the truck on fire, the PTI news agency said in its report.
The attack came during a day-long shutdown Maoists called in Jharkhand and the neighbouring states of Orissa and West Bengal to protest against rising prices of food and other essential commodities.
Food prices have been at a three-year high in India with the annual rate of inflation for the week ending April 5 recorded at 7.14 per cent.
This is the second strike called by the rebels in India's eastern region this week. Maoist rebels, who claim to be fighting for the rural poor, tribal people and the landless, operate in 13 of India's 29 states.
Thousands of people, mostly police, paramilitary personnel and government officials, have been killed in the insurgency since the late 1960s.