Raichur continues to supply Naxals

The Anti-Naxal Force, which killed a Naxalite in Subramanya forest earlier this week, has identified him as Yellappa also known as Dinakar, who had migrated into the Western Ghats from Raichur. He belonged to a place called Mundalkere of Raichur district.

“His brother Thayappa today arrived from his native (place), identified him and took custody of the body,” said inspector general of police (Western range) Pratap Reddy. “Yellappa had changed his name to Dinakar after he joined the Maoist movement. Ours was a family of farmers, leading a hand-to-mouth existence. We could not muster enough money for education. Yellappa had been cited in a murder case in 2003 in Raichur, but was acquitted in 2005. Then he vanished from our village and we never knew his whereabouts until we came to see his photographs in the media,” said Thayappa.

It is interesting that all four top Naxalite leaders killed in these parts in police encounters since 2005 have had something to do with Raichur. Hajima and Parvati, who were killed in 2003 in Eedu of Karkala taluk, and Naxalite ‘Southern Commander’ Saketh Rajan and his accomplice Shivalingu had also come to Western Ghats from Raichur.

Saketh, who was a student of Mysore University, had vanished from active social life. According to police records, he spent more than six years in Raichur, training and recruiting young university students to join Naxal forces. He resurfaced in Chikkamagalur part of the Western Ghats in 2005, trying to put together a Naxal force in Western Ghats a few weeks before he was killed in an encounter along with Shivalingu on the slopes of Adyadka hills.

From then on, the Naxalite movement has been continuously receiving new recruits from Raichur. The Kannada they speak when they visit the houses of farmers and landlords in the fringe areas of the Western Ghats has been identified as “typical north Karnataka accent” by the people who have met them.

Dyammappa Gowda of Nadpal village on Dakshina Kannada Chikmagalur border area recalls the conversation between him and five Naxalites in 2008. “I could not understand in the beginning what they were talking, but after careful listening, I realised it was Kannada,” he said.

The main reason for growth of the Naxal movement in Karnataka, especially in the Western Ghats, has been attributed to the apathy of the governments towards the forest dwellers. The government did not allow the tribals to live in peace. The government officials prevented them from collecting minor forest wastes, or to use forest areas for dwelling and commuting. They erected gates and prevented them from moving around. They also slapped cases under Forest Act for ‘just living’ inside the forest, say activists and NGOs working in the Western Ghats.

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