India has decided to go after the senior leadership of the Maoist groups that are becoming more active in eastern India. While there are only about 4,000 armed Maoists, they operate in small groups of a dozen or so. Local police often treat the Maoist groups like bandits, if only because the Maoists often use extortion and robbery to maintain themselves. But the Maoists are also active politically, killing or threatening businessmen and landlords. This makes the Maoists popular with many poor people. By going after the leadership, the police avoid having civilians getting caught in the crossfire, and turning low level Maoist gunmen into martyrs. Maoists are growing stronger in several provinces, as their combination of class war and armed extortion keeps the organization growing, and in the black.