Police sources confirm that Maoist squads are on the move in Adilabad, Nizamabad and Karimnagar districts
Maoist activity in the State is likely to intensify in the coming months, even as the Centre is planning to launch an all-out offensive against them in Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa shortly.
The spurt in violence, five murders and a bank dacoity in the last two months, is apparently part of a Tactical Counter Offensive Campaign (TCOC) taken up by the Maoists to re-establish their bases in Andhra Pradesh, especially in North Telangana districts abutting Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh.
The spectre of violence looms large in these areas as Maoists and police prepare themselves for a show-down. While the Maoists’ thinking is that only an ‘intensified TCOC’, a euphemistic expression for ‘intensified violence’, would provide space for revolutionary activity when the State enjoys an upper hand, the police agencies believe ‘tit-for-tat’ actions are necessary to checkmate them. These tactics are evidently in practise now.
Close on the heels of a bank dacoity, police were quick to gun down a Maoist in Khammam and another Maoist guerrilla in Warangal after two village level politicians were killed by the rebels.
Police confirm that Maoist squads are on the move in Adilabad, Nizamabad and Karimnagar districts also, though only Karimnagar witnessed two murders in last two months.
A cause for concern of people is on two counts now. Police appear to be complacent, while the Maoist leaders like Muppala Laxman Rao (Ganapathi) and Mallojula Koteswara Rao (Kishanji) repeatedly assert that they are staging a come back in the State.
“Advances and retreats are common in revolutionary movement. The setback in Andhra Pradesh is a temporary one and the objective conditions in which revolution began in the State have not undergone any basic change,” Ganapathy said in an interview circulated to media on October 17, 2009.
But the Maoists find themselves in a piquant situation now. In the absence of any mass organisation activity to take up ‘partial struggles’ on people’s issues, their focus is bound to be on taking up the TCOC.
The ‘objective conditions’ which Maoist supremo Ganapathy was referring to have indeed changed quite a bit. That the social conditions which provided a fertile ground for Maoism to grow changed vastly, had been accepted by Maoists themselves in their ‘social investigation’ report prepared possibly in 2004. The social investigation exercise was taken up by the party to understand why their movement was not growing strength by strength but decreasing gradually in Andhra Pradesh.
In fact, the State conference of the erstwhile People’s War held in 2000 felt the downfall was primarily due to the ‘change in social conditions’. The All India conference in 2001 too discussed the issue on similar lines, when there was a disagreement among some top leaders on the ideological plank of ‘area-wise seizure of power’ – that the revolutionary movement should engulf the hinterlands first and then spread to towns and cities.
Disagreeing with this thinking, a State committee member in West Bengal, Mallik quit the movement and in Karnataka, the party vertically split.
The argument that the party should focus on movement in urban areas gained some strength later and an Urban Sub-Committee (USCO) was formed. However, little progress was made on this count as several Maoist documents indicate.
The Maoist claim is that while the retreat is temporary in Andhra Pradesh, they consolidated their strength in neighbouring Orissa and Chhattisgarh.
As they apprehend that the Central forces withdrawn from Kashmir will be deployed in highly affected areas, they plan to aggravate the situation by heightening violence in new areas just to force the State to disperse security forces over a ‘sufficiently wide area’ and diverting the forces from attacking guerrilla zones and bases.
This current strategy in the backdrop of absence of mass organisation activity, despite their rudimentary network being in place, points to the possibility of increasing levels of violence in Andhra Pradesh.