Four women Naxals killed by security forces in Chhattisgarh
Raipur: Four women Naxals were killed and a top rebel leader injured in a major gunbattle with security forces in the wee hours of Sunday in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district, taking to 14 the number of Maoists gunned down in the worst-hit Bastar region in November. Police said that besides two 12 bore guns and its 44 live rounds, a .303 rifle and it’s four live rounds, Rs 19,000 cash, a naxal bag, solar plate, radio, naxal uniforms, food commodities and other Maoist related materials were recovered from the spot.
The operation was conducted jointly by Special Task Force (STF), District Reserve Group from Dantewada district and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in the forests of Gadiras Police Station area, Inspector General of Police, Bastar Range, S R P Kalluri, said. Calling the operation a big success, Kalluri said security forces swung into action after they got information about presence of so-called ‘Divisional Commander’ rank cadre Aaytu along with a group of rebels in Gadiras area, which falls on the Sukma-Dantewada border.
Aaytu is the Divisional Committee member of Darbha Division of Maoists and also in-charge of of Malangir Area Committee, which has executed several deadly attacks in the region, including the 2013 deadly Jiram valley massacre, in which top Congress leaders were among 31 people killed. “We received inputs about the presence of Aaytu last night, following which we mobilised our composite forces towards the region to nab him,” the IG said. While cordoning off the forests on top of the Nagalguda Pahad (hill) at around 5 AM, the security forces spotted the Naxals’ hideout and started encircling the spot. Sensing their presence, some of the armed cadres opened indiscriminate firing on them, prompting them to retaliate, he said.
After the ensuing gunfight that lasted for about two hours, the ultras fled from the spot leaving behind their belongings, he added. The IG said that Aaytu was shot from close quarters in the gunbattle, but his colleagues managed to drag him inside the jungle. During a search of the spot after the encounter, bodies of four women Naxals clad in uniform, were recovered, he said. The slain naxals were identified as Rame, Sanni, Mase and Pandy, all were active as members of Local Operation Squad (LOS) of Malangir area committee of Maoists, the IG said. With this encounter, the number of Naxals who have been gunned down so far this month by the Bastar Police has reached 14, police said.
..According to the IG, erstwhile Maoist and former Darbha DVC member Badaru, who surrendered before police two years ago and now works as police head constable with Dantewada police, played an important role in “achieving this successful feat” in Sunday’s encounter.
Spring thunder over Telangana again?
Though the TRS had vowed to implement the Maoist agenda during elections in the new State, it, however, wanted to keep the Maoists at bay after forming the government.
Though the TRS had vowed to implement the Maoist agenda during elections in the new State, it, however, wanted to keep the Maoists at bay after forming the government. And when the powers-that-be first realised that the rebels had already crossed the Godavari and were strengthening their bases in Adilabad, Warangal, Karimnagar and Khammam districts, they had to act. Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao himself asked, “Why did they come?” On September 15, two young Maoists were killed in an alleged encounter by the police. “The CM is conspiring to eliminate Maoists by any means. But, he can’t stop youth from joining the movement,” says the author of the book ‘Understanding Maoists’ and noted social activist N Venugopal.
With abduction of six TRS leaders, the Maoists have sent the government a clear message – “we’re back” With the abduction of six TRS leaders by Maoists from a remote hamlet, Pusuguppa, in Charla mandal in Khammam district late on November 18 evening and their subsequent release on November 21, a message has been sent loud and clear – the outlawed rebels are rising again, like Phoenix, after a thorough cleansing act by the YS Rajasekhara Reddy government in undivided Andhra Pradesh. Yes, gumboots of newly invigorated insurgents and prying policemen have begun crushing undergrowths in the deep jungles of Telangana all over again. The hitherto unseen rebels are apparently fortifying themselves, slowly and silently.
It all began with stray incidents of pamphlets surfacing in some villages including Singaram, Bhoopalpally and Chityal, warning the locals not to be informers, threatening politicians and landlords and warning the authorities of severe action if they did not stop combing operations. The government machinery was quick to act. On September 15, two young Maoists, Sruthi alias Mahitha (23), a native of Vaddepalli, and Manikanti Vidyasagar Reddy alias Sagar (32), a native of Dharmasagar mandal of Warangal district, were killed in an alleged encounter by the police. It may be recalled that during the election campaign post-bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, TRS supremo K Chadrashekar Rao spoke in a friendly tone on the Maoist issue and even promised the backward people of Telangana to implement ‘Maoist agenda’ if his party was voted to power.
However, even 16 months after coming to power, the KCR government has miserably failed to address the myriad issue that plagued the people in the State. The Telangana unit secretary of Maoists, Haribhushan, reportedly expressed his displeasure over the government indifference on the issue of farmer suicides across the State. He came down heavily upon the CM for chalking out a spend of Rs 100 crore a year on the development of the famed Yadagirigutta temple, instead of using the money for the welfare of farmers. But the root cause of the rebels equipping themselves to strike against the State once again seems to be something different.
Though incidents of the Maoist activities seem to be sporadic, the fact is that the fighting insurgents are not completely wiped out from the undivided Andhra Pradesh. After the militant group lost Nallamala foothold completely and several of its members were killed in ‘encounters’, the remaining members managed to cross river Godavari and find safe havens in Chhattisgarh. Though the banned outfit was inactive in Andhra Pradesh from 2007 to 2014, its leaders were getting going in the deep jungles of Bastar and observing keenly the socio-political developments on this side of the Godavari. While the Telangana movement was going stronger, the Maoists always supported it and they were under the impression that the movement was part of their class struggle, though it was spearheaded by petty bourgeois.
In fact, history tells us that since 1969, the Leftist extremists supported the cause of a separate Telangana, thinking that it would redress the burning issues of hapless tribals and farmers in distress. While the leaders of Telangana agitation always welcomed the Maoist support to the movement, there were widespread apprehensions about resurgence of these elements once the separate statehood was achieved. The police always warned the leaders and the government of possible armed activities by these insurgents in a separate Telangana.
However, after the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) came to power in 2014, the government has become wary of the revolutionaries. It is everyone’s knowledge that the police warned the TRS government not to encourage any armed activity by the Maoists. It may be recalled that since mid-90s, the Centre paid no heed to the demand for a separate Telangana State on the grounds that it would be a breeding grounds for Maoists. Apparently, the TRS government wants to keep the Maoists at bay. And when the powers-that-be first realised that the rebels had already crossed the Godavari and were strengthening their bases in Adilabad, Warangal, Karimnagar and Khammam districts, they had to act. Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao himself asked, “Why did they come?”
Well, reasons are obvious. They came to Adilabad because there are several issues that dog the district. There are tribal issues of the Kawal Tiger Reserve, forests, coals and open cast mining. Local tribals comprising Gonds, Naikpods and Kollams were displaced in the name of core area and buffer zone, forcing them to leave the forest and move to the plains. As many as 42 tribal habitations in Jannaram, Kadem, Khanapur, Indravelli and Utnoor blocks were evacuated for the tiger reserve. “In fact, there is no confirmation of the presence of tigers in the sanctuary. We have been living in the forests for several years and we are living in complete harmony with the wild animals,” Adivasi Ikya Porata Samithi district president Sidam Shimbu told the local media when they were evacuated.
Though the Telangana JAC opposed the move to make Kawal a wildlife sanctuary as well as open cast mines in the district, once TRS came to power, the government itself took up mining activities, directly putting at stake at the livelihood of aboriginal inhabitants of the forests. In Karimnagar, Khamman and Warngal districts, the Maoists work as a single unit, namely KKW. It is easy for the insurgents to cross the Godavari from Chhattisgarh as both the banks have thick forest belts. Due to the existence of iron ore and coal, a lot of MNC activities are going on in the area, directly affecting the lives of thousands of locals. To add to their woes, a new mineral was unearthed recently, thus forcing tribals to flee 1,500 of forest land.
“The activities of Maoists are reactions to the government atrocities. The government will sure try to suppress the movement at any cost. By all indications, the State is ruthless. They can kill people, but not the movement,” says the author of the book ‘Understanding Maoists’ and noted social activist, N Venugopal. Noted revolutionary poet and well-known author Varavara Rao is also of the same opinion: “Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao is conspiring to eliminate Maoists by any means. But, he can’t stop youth from joining the movement. It is a direct result of the government failure to provide employment to the youth in the State. In a testimony to growing desperation among jobless youth, as many as 36 highly educated young men and women went underground to join the Maoist movement just in the last two months.”