VIJAYAWADA: The statement of the CPI (Maoist) issued in the name of its official spokesman Syam with a warning to kill the accused in the call money-sex racket case in the city has stirred a hornet’s nest. It keeps the police engaged in anti-Maoist operations and observers of the leftwing extremist movement thinking whether it could be read as a sign of shift from the forest-centric operations of the Maoist party. The party, since its previous avatar of People’s War Group (PWG), has viewed the plains in the coastal Andhra region as a shelter or peace zone and incubator for production of its think-tank. Therefore, it keeps itself away from indulging in violent actions in the coastal plains so as not to stop fund flow from these areas and disturb ‘peace’ there.
The strategy has been in force since the period of Kondapalli Seetaramaiah, a patriarchal figure of the erstwhile PWG, who hailed from a village near Gudivada in Krishna district. The police take serious view of the Moists’ warning in the capital region inhabited by VVIPs. A senior officer entrusted with anti-Maoist operations did not rule out the possibility of a random or surprise action in the capital region in a desperate bid to make their presence felt. ” It could be a sign for a hit-and-run action”, he added. City police commissioner D Gautam Sawang told TOI that he was examining the tone and the tenor of the press release. A Left intellectual, who did not want to be quoted, said Maoists’ response in a case pertained to the capital region was an indication for their departure in their focus from the forests to the plains. “The plain areas or urban centres like Vijayawada are no longer their fund centres and their base either. In such a scenario they may revisit their existing strategy to attract the urban poor and middle class with random actions”, he felt while driving his point home, citing the instance of Visakhapatnam where three Maoists were killed in encounters in a span of two years as a result of the party’s focus on urban issues.
Currently, the party is indulging in sporadic activities in certain pockets of East Godavari and Visakhapatnam districts under the banners of the Sabari Area Committee and East Visakha Committee. In early 1980s the Central Organising Committee (COC) which later metamorphosed into PWG concentrated their activities in urban areas of Telangana region such as Karimnagar, Godavarikhani, Ramagundam and Peddapalli. Later, the party was forced to retreat into the forests after a police action and it failed to build its bases in the urban centres. The police fear whether the Maoist menace has been inherited to the successor State along with the others issues that cropped up in the process of bifurcation of Telangana.
The presence of Maoists is limited to around a dozen mandals in Visakhapantam district, especially the places like Donkarayi which the extremists use as a transit point in their movement on Andhra Odisha Border (AOB). The successor state has inherited seven mandals from the Telangana’s Khammam district as part of the bifurcation. Of them Chintoor, Yatapaka and Kunavaram are considered as hotbeds for Maoist activities. An intelligence official highlighted the need for reorientation of the armed forces to handle a fresh threat of Maoists in the successor state. “Anti-naxal squads (ANS) have been drafted for the other assignments like VIP security and the cadre allotment in the police department in the rank of DSP is still to be decided even 18 months after the state division. These issues have to be sorted out on a priority basis to counter the Maoists effectively”, he commented.