RAIPUR  - Maoist rebels killed three policemen on Sunday during an overnight attack on a state-run broadcaster in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh, a senior police official told AFP. The shootout with state police who were guarding the building began after national broadcaster Doordarshan aired its last programme of the day from its local office in Jagdalpur town in the conflict-prone Bastar region.

"Three policemen were shot dead and another is seriously injured in the incident that took place inside the premises of the Transmission Centre," the state's director general of police Ramniwas, who uses one name, told AFP.

Officials could not confirm the number of guerillas involved or discuss their motives for carrying out the attack.

Doordarshan's state head Rabindra Nath Mishra told AFP, "Maoists have not damaged any of the installations of Doordarshan or harmed transmission staff".

The attack is the latest in a simmering conflict between the left-wing insurgents and local and national authorities played out in the forests and rural areas of mainly central and eastern India.

Security forces shot dead nine rebels last month in a fierce gun battle in a remote forested area of Chhattisgarh.

The government describes the Maoists, who say they are fighting for the rights of tribal people and landless farmers, as the country's most serious internal security threat.