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Lessons from the only 'success'

Andhra Pradesh is touted as the only state to have driven out the Maoists. Has it? reports Praveen Donthi.

india Updated: May 29, 2010 23:46 IST
Praveen Donthi
Praveen Donthi
Hindustan Times

Except for torching of a road roller on May 25, there have been no Maoist attacks in the Visakhapatnam agency area of Andhra Pradesh for the last 15 days. It is but a brief dry spell.

Vineet Brij Lal, SP of the area, will soon be getting additional paramilitary forces he had requested for. He also needs a helicopter.

"There are at least two platoons and 200 militia active in this area. In the past two months there have been nine incidents. The situation is escalating," says the former Greyhounds officer.

Maoists have maintained their grip on AOB area (Andhra-Orissa border) — 3 districts of Northern Andhra and 5 districts of Orissa — despite losing their strongholds of North Telanagana and Nallamala forests of southern Andhra in 2005 and 2006 respectively. But they are active again. According to highly-placed intelligence sources, out of 410 top maoists spread all over the country, 160 are still within the state. "In AOB, Khammam and Warangal they are very much there," says Aravinda Rao, former IG, Intelligence, AP Police.

The Andhra Maoist leaders driven out by Greyhounds are not only providing leadership elsewhere but they are also recruiting from AP. "There are so many committed families and people here who make for ready recruits for various reasons," says Rao.

Telangana agitation has also given a fillip to the Maoists. Most Andhra maoists like Kishenji, Ganapathi and Satyanna had participated in Telangana agitation in 1969-72 as college students. "The recruitment has become easier. They are known to fish in troubled waters and it’s known that they are doing it," says a former senior Greyhounds officer on the condition of anonymity. "It is not the number of cadres that’s worrying us but the number of people who support them," he says.

Top level officials are aware of the limitations of the AP success. "State borders exist only on maps. When they are so successful in other states, it’s not easy stop them from coming," says Anjani Kumar, IG, Greyhounds.

"The party has seen worse days in 1972 when the entire Srikakulam movement was wiped out. But it is not possible in Telangana in particular and Andhra in general to wipe out Maoism," says Varavara Rao, a Maoist ideologue.

First Published: May 29, 2010 23:31 IST