To gain a foothold in forest areas first
Maoist rebels, who resurfaced in Telangana, are now planning to start a new students' organisation called Adivasi Vidyarthi Sangam (AVS) to mobilise tribal students to fight for their rights and welfare activities. The formation of AVS is being seen as a part of the overall Maoist strategy to revive the defunct mass organisations, which helped spread revolutionary activity.
Information culled from different sources indicates that the Maoist strategy is to gain a foothold in forest areas first before spreading their activity to plains. The Maoist area committees consisting of five to seven armed rebels have already completed the task of identifying the issues on which partial struggles are to be launched.
For example, the Eturu Nagaram and Mahadevpur area committee had decided to take up the issue of corruption in ITDAs, lack of facilities for students, shortage of teachers in tribal residential schools and the unemployment problem among educated tribal youth. In addition, the Maoist cadres now moving in Adilabald, Karimnagar, Khammam and Warangal districts are planning to revive the ‘Viplava Rytu Coolie Sanghams (VRCSs), Radical Students Union (RSU), Radical Youth League (RYL), Viplava Mahila Sanghams (VMSs).
The principle reason for strength of the naxalite movement in late 1990s (before it suffered severe a setback by 2005), was the effective functioning of these mass organisations, which ensured a steady flow of recruitments into the erstwhile CPI-ML People's War (PW). People from different sections of society – the landless, tribals, women, students and workers, extended their full support to the revolutionary movement for a variety of reasons. Now the Maoist party faces the uphill task of starting from the scratch – from the organisational stage of revolution, while the revolutionary movement in neighbouring Chhattisgarh had already reached the mobile warfare stage.
However, it would not be that easy for the Maoist cadres to operate even in forest areas of Telangana now. If police inputs are to be considered, there are many problems plaguing the Maoist cadres. For example, a document titled ‘criticism and self-criticism' detailed how members of a squad detest being given the sentry duties or the kitchen duty. The squad commander noted in his diary that one of his comrades had begun using vulgar language during arguments over doing sentry duties.
The other interesting development was that even when a police team camped ‘just ten minutes' away from the Maoist camp site on borders of Karimnagar and Warangal districts, the rebels did not take up an opportunity ambush, as they are wont to do in Chhattisgarh but waited patiently for the police team to vacate the area.
“The police batches (teams) walked past our camp”, noted the squad commander in his diary. The diary also provides an interesting reading about how an Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) flew over the forest area on October 20 for nearly four-and-a-half hours.
Apparently, the rebels camouflaged their hideouts and waited for the UAV to cease operations, but significantly, it was a week later police exchanged fire with the Maoist squad in the same area.