NEW DELHI, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Maoists rebels stormed a training centre for auxiliary policemen in eastern India on Friday, killing five police cadets and wounding 18 people, including villagers caught in the crossfire, police said.
Around 300 Maoist rebels, some of them armed with automatic weapons, attacked the centre near Giridih town, some 150 km (93 miles) northeast of Ranchi, capital of Jharkhand state.
"The gun battle is still on and some of the injured are critical," Inspector General of Police B.C. Verma said.
Hundreds of state and federal police reinforcements have been sent to the area, he said.
Thousands of people, including hundreds of policemen, have died in nearly 40 years of Maoist violence across a large swathe of eastern and southern India.
The Maoists say they are fighting for the rights of landless labourers and poor peasants, many of whom are tribals or low-caste Hindus.
In October, Maoist guerrillas set off a bomb, killing 13 policemen in Jharkhand, one of the states worst affected by Maoist violence.