Rise of tribal leader, Ambedkar kin in Maoist ranks The meteoric rise in the Maoist ranks of two leaders, one tribal and the other Dalit, may force the government’s anti-Maoist think-tanks to do a rethink on their strategies. Hidama, 35, a tribal from Sukma district of Chhattisgarh, has made it to the Dand Karanya Special Zonal Committee of the CPI (Maoist) in a short span of time, sending positive signals across the tribals working in the Maoist organisation. Milind Teltumbde, 49, known as Sahyadri, has recently made it to the Central Committee of the CPI (Maoist). Milind, a Dalit, hails from Wani town in Chandrapur. Incidentally, he is a kin of B.R. Ambedkar. Known for his cool mind and military planning, Hidama heads the Maoist military battalion no.1.
He has played an important role in some of the biggest attacks on security forces in Sukma, including the 2010 killing of 76 CRPF men at Tadmetla or the killing of 14 CRPF men at Kasalpara last year. On the other hand, Milind is known for his intellect. “Suvez Haque, an upright police officer, had inflicted huge setbacks on the Maoists in Gadchiroli of Maharashtra in the last two years. But once Mr. Haque was transferred out of Gadchiroli, Milind has rebuilt the party organisation in a very short span of time,” a party insider told The Hindu. Official sources said there is a strong possibility of these two leaders posing a big challenge to the Indian state. “The Maoists can also shed their image of being an Andhra-dominated party using these two leaders,” said the sources.
There are frequent reports of “infighting” between the tribal workers of the CPI (Maoist) and its Andhra-dominated leadership, but Maoists have called them “a tactic” by the government as part of its low-intensity conflict. The government which looked at it as an opportunity to foster divisions in the Maoist organisations may be forced to rethink its strategy because of Hidma and Milind. “But that will depend on how the Maoists treat them. Milind has been made a CC member, but his promotion will have to be ratified by a party congress. The same applies to Hidama. It depends on how the party’s senior leadership grooms both of them,” said a senior police officer involved in anti-Maoist operations in Chhattisgarh.