Wednesday, May 28, 2003
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By K. Srinivas Reddy
While the revolutionary movement in north Telangana (NT) area of the State is in the grip of a crisis, the rebels are gaining a foothold in the coastal, north coastal and Rayalaseema districts through a variety of field tactics. Interestingly, the same tactics were put to effective use in NT by the CPI-ML People's War in the late 1980s and the early 1990s.
Select elimination of ruling party leaders and "cruel" policemen, organising famine raids, killing suspected informants and assaults on police patrols took the revolutionary movement in NT to dizzying heights by the mid-1990s.
So much so that the five NT districts declared by the PW as "guerrilla zone" in 1995 was hailed as a role model to inspire "revolutionaries" in not only the other States but also the Maoist rebels in Nepal, where the revolutionary movement was at a nascent stage.
But successful counter strategies by police obstructed the growth of the movement to such an extent that the PW had to grudgingly accept that the movement had been at an "ebb'' since 1998.
Unlike in the late 1980s, a merciless crackdown against the rebels was launched and the police counter-strategy this decade centred around a combination of military offensive and the WHAM strategy (Winning Hearts And Minds) by redressing grievances.
Consequently, the PW continues to get hit with unfailing regularity in NT but the movement is on the upswing in the coastal, north coastal and Rayalaseema regions. How did the PW achieve this? And did the police "fail"?
The PW leadership apparently has stolen a march over the counter strategists of the Government. It is consciously trying to strengthen its base on the fringes of forest areas as it would provide a safe haven for them.
The PW has stepped up its activities especially in Guntur, Prakasam, Kurnool, Mahabubnagar, Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram, Srikakulam, Cuddapah and Anantapur using this strategy.
Police attention is sought to be diverted by increasing the level of violence in non-NT districts.
"To divert the enemy's attention, we should plan actions in Andhra Pradesh and the areas bordering Orissa. More importantly, we should plan political actions against the Telugu Desam and BJP leaders on the scale of North Telangana," a PW document prepared by two of its central committee members in September last shows.
That explains the reason behind the nine out of 20 political murders committed this year by the PW in Guntur (three each of the Congress and the TDP), in Nalgonda (two TDP men) and in Cuddapah (one TDP member). Rest of the 11 murders were committed in Karimnagar (two TDP and one BJP leader), three in Warangal (two TDP leaders and once Congress), two in Nizamabad (one BJP and one TDP leader) and three in Khammam (two TDP and one political activist of a rival naxal group).
There were also 23 "famine raids" conducted by the PW cadres this year in Kurnool (one looting), Mahabubnagar (7), Cyberabad (2), Nalgonda (3), Prakasam (4), Anantapur (3) and Cuddapah (3).
The famine raids obviously are being taken up to garner public support and to spread the message that the drought relief measures of the Government were not reaching the people. Incidentally, all these raids have taken place in non-NT areas again.
On the other hand, police have dealt a near deathblow to the top PW leadership in the recent times.
Some of the top cadres killed are the Hyderabad district committee secretary, Nomula Ramana Reddy, the State committee member and in-charge of Rayalaseema, Prasad alias Diwakar, the NT special zonal committee members, Padmakka, Anupuram Komuraiah and Polam Sudershan Reddy, the Adilabad DCS, Lalitakka, and the Mahabubnagar DCM, E. Sudhakar alias Seshanna.
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