DIG of Police of Visakha Range Swati Lakra created a record of sorts when, she along with Superintendent of Police G. Srinivas and other police officials, visited an interior village in the Visakha Agency, where the Maoists have strong pockets of influence, on Sunday afternoon to call on the family of party’s east division secretary and spokesman of its Andhra-Orissa border zonal committee Bakuri Venkata Ramana alias Ganesh.

The visit was part of the Sadbhavana Yatra of the police being conducted in the native villages of top and active Maoist leaders to impress their families to urge the Maoists to surrender and return to the mainstream. Mr. Srinivas and Additional SP (operations) A.R. Damodhar had in the past visited villages of some Maoist leaders.

Ms. Swati Lakra, Mr. Srinivas and Mr. Damodhar this time decided to visit Bakuru, native village of the most active and important Maoist leader of this area, which is located in the interior forest area 20 km from the revenue divisional headquarters of Paderu. They trekked some kilometres to reach the village.

The DIG and others were accorded a traditional Girijan welcome, which included a Dhimsa dance performance, garlands, vermillion “bottu”, etc. The police party presented a “kavidi” full of fruits and sweets to Ganesh’s wife, parents and brothers. Many banners and boards were put up urging Ganesh to come back to the mainstream.

They were in the names of his wife Aruna, a former Maoist who is now on bail, father Raju, friends, and even son of Appanna, an SIB constable who was shot dead by an action party at Paderu a few months ago.

The emotional angle was highlighted during the visit that lasted about three hours, to convince the Maoists to give a good thought to surrender.

Ms. Swati Lakra, the SP and others interacted with Bakuri Venkata Ramana’s family and inquired about the members’ health and wellbeing while Ganesh’s friends like Pangi Raja Rao and Gangulayya addressed a public meeting. The police officers had lunch with the family members and others.

Ms. Aruna said she had not faced harassment after she was released on bail and hoped that her husband would return and enjoy a peaceful life.

The Maoist leader’s father said he had not seen his son since he left to join the party 20 years ago. He was confident that his son would return, but did not know where he was now.

He was reading about Ganesh in newspapers and sometime on television.

Ganesh’s mother Kondamma is not having a proper vision and hoped her son would come back and take care of her and her husband. His friends wondered if they could see Ganesh again. He joined the party due to the situation prevailing then but the Girijans were now enjoying a better life, said Gangulayya.

Ms. Swati Lakra said it was necessary for a police officer to visit the villages of Maoist leaders and convince their families and an assurance that no harm would be done to their sons or daughters and to impress the leaders to return to the mainstream. Ganesh’s old parents needed support, she said. The DIG assured that Ganesh could lead a peaceful life if he surrendered.

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