The Maoist movement suffered a major setback in the Andhra-Odisha Border (AOB) region in Alluri Sitharamaraju district with the arrest of a top Maoist leader and simultaneous surrender of 60 Maoists, which includes 33 party members and 27 militia members.
The arrested has been identified as Vanthala Ramakrishna alias Prabhakar alias Ashok, who is the area committee secretary of the Pedabayalu-Korukonda area committee of the Maoist party. This apart, 33 party members and 27 militia surrendered before the DIG of Visakhapatnam (Range) S. Harikrishna and Superintendent of Police, ASR district, S. Satish Kumar, here on Tuesday.
Ashok was arrested on Monday and produced before the media along with the surrendered Maoists. He is a resident of Kondrum village of Injari panchayat in Pedabayalu.
This is the biggest surrender of party members on a single day in Andhra Pradesh in the recent times. It is also being termed as a big blow to the Maoist movement, as Ashok was said to be one among the last top leaders operating in the AOB region. It was with him that the top leaders such as Gajarla Ravi alias Uday and Aruna were keeping in touch with and keeping the movement alive.
Moreover, the surrender of the 60 members, who belong to the Injari panchayat in Pedabayalu mandal of ASR district, is said to have dealt a decisive blow to the left wing extremist movement, as Pedabayalu has traditionally been a Maoist hotbed.
“With this, we can say that the Maoist movement is almost coming to an end in the AOB region and what is left could only be the residual remnants of the movement,” said Mr. Harikrishna.
Ashok was allegedly involved in about 124 cases in ASR district since the last two decades and was one among the prime accused in the killing of TDP MLA Kidari Sarveswara Rao and former MLA Siveri Soma. He was allegedly involved in over 14 murders, 4 landmine blasts, six arson, 13 exchanges of fire and other offences. He had reward of over ₹5 lakh on his head.
The police reportedly recovered from him one 9 mm semi-automatic pistol, 8 rounds, one landmine, ₹39 lakh in cash, five detonators, six batteries, wire bundles and Maoist literature.
According to Mr. Satish Kumar, all the 33 party members had a reward of ₹1 lakh on their head and each of them were allegedly involved in about 10 to 94 offences, including murder, exchange of fire, landmine blasts and arson.
Though there were clear indications that they had suffered a big blow, the movement is fast waning down, the challenge now was to see that there is no revival or influx of new leaders and cadres from Chhattisgarh and as well as take the development the people in the interior parts, said Mr. Satish.
Speaking to the media, a few of the party members said that the main reasons for their surrender was that they were disillusioned with the Maoist movement and that they wanted to lead a quality life in the mainstream, as security forces had been making deep inroads into their strongholds.
Additional SP (Admin) Tuhin Sinha and CRPF officials were present.