Andhra Pradesh

Maoists fast running out of friends in AOB stronghold

A file photo of police combing the Agency area in Visakhapatnam district.

A file photo of police combing the Agency area in Visakhapatnam district.  

Anti-development stance pits the banned outfit against tribal people of the region

In the intervening night of January 25 and 26, four hardcore Maoists accompanied by about 15 militia members went to Janturay, an interior village located in the cut-off area of Andhra Odisha Border, and asked villagers to hand them over four youth, whom they had branded police informers and supporters of development being undertaken by the government in that area.

When the villagers refused to oblige, the Maoists brandished their weapons. This angered the villagers who attacked the Naxalites with stones and sticks, resulting in the death of Maoist Ganga Madhi alias Adma, a native of Kalimela, and injuries to Jipra Hatrika, who carries a reward of ₹4 lakh on his head. Both were from the Guma area committee of the CPI (Maoist).

The youth have been creating awareness on the advantages of having a road, said a member of an NGO, who works in the area.

This incident opens up a new chapter in the tribal-Maoist conflict as the cut-off area is considered to be the operational headquarters of the banned outfit in the region from where it has been been operating since 2006.

Many senior leaders such as Akkiraju Haragopal alias RK, central committee member, and Gajarla Ravi alias Uday, secretary of AOBSZC (Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee), are believed to be present and operating from this area.

“Since the 2016 Ramaguda encounter in which 30 Maoists were killed by elite anti-Naxal force Greyhounds, the Naxalites have killed about 30 Girijans, ” said Superintendent of Police Attada Babujee. But this was the first time that the locals opposed the Maoists on a development issue, he pointed out.

The area with over 151 villages and a population of over 30,000, has remained cut off since the construction of the major irrigation projects at Machhkund in the 1960s and Balimela in the 80s, forcing the locals to depend on the Maoists.

Parallel govt.

The Maoists ran a parallel administration and at the same time getting the protection, logistical and manpower support.

But with the construction of the Gurupriya bridge in July 2018, the dynamics started to change.

“Now we have the bridge and what is needed is roads which will enable tribal people to have access to facilities such as education and medical, which the Maoists do not want,” said Mr. Babujee.

To facilitate the construction of roads in the area, the Central government recently set up BSF camps in Jantapai and Vantalagudda.

While the tribal people have realised that development is possible only if roads are laid, the Maoists are vehemently opposing for fear of losing their toehold, said a senior officer in the intelligence wing.

The construction of a 10-km road from Jantapai to Jodomba via Vantalagudda is on.

This is not the first time that the tribal people opposed the Maoists in the AOB. On October 19, 2014, residents of Veeravaram in Chintapalli mandal of Visakha Agency, attacked and killed Sindri China Ranga Rao alias Sarath, a DCM cadre Maoist, and injured Korra Nageswara Rao, in retaliation to the killing of Gemmeli Sanjeeva Rao, a religious leader. Some time in May-June 2018, the villagers of Galikonda panchayat took out a rally demanding a road between Chatraipalli and Galikonda ignoring the diktat of the Maoists.

Follow the killing of Adma, the security forces of Odisha and AP have sounded a red alert and stepped up vigil in the area.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 4:06:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/maoists-fast-running-out-of-friends-in-aob-stronghold/article30669989.ece

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