NEW DELHI (AFP) - India's outlawed Maoist guerrillas are believed to have spread into the country's major cities such as the national capital New Delhi, the govnt said on Tuesday. The statement in parliament followed questions by a lawmaker on the expanding influence of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-M) rebels, who were earlier active only in rural areas. "Activities of the CPI-Maoist and their frontal organisations have been reported in urban areas of various states," junior home minister Jitendra Prasad said. The minister listed Bangalore, India's software hub, commercial hub Mumbai, New Delhi, the eastern city of Kolkata and the southern city of Chennai among 10 cities where the presence of guerrillas has been detected. The rebels have been engaging in increasingly deadly violence in rural areas. Prasad also said New Delhi was sharing intelligence reports with state governments locked in battle with the rebels, described by Premier Manmohan Singh as India's single largest internal security challenge. The Maoist movement, which began in 1967, feeds off land disputes, police brutality and corruption, and is strongest in the poorest and most deprived areas of India, many of which are rich in natural resources. Prasad added that women constituted a "significant portion of the armed cadres of the Maoists". He said New Delhi had no plans to use drones in anti-Maoist operations in the worst-hit state of Chhattisgarh but had deployed nine military helicopters to assist state governments in fighting the guerrillas. The minister said 2,513 civilians and 1,161 security personnel had died in Maoist-linked violence during the past five years in India. The government says Maoists have a presence in 20 of India's 29 states.