This year, the banned CPI (Maoist) suffered three major setbacks in the Andhra- Odisha Border region. The first was the surrender of senior Maoist leader Jalandhar Reddy alias Krishna in April, the next was the major encounter in Teegalametta in Koyyuru mandal in which six top Maoists, including Ranadev and Ashok, were killed and the latest to add to their woes is the surrender of Chikkudu Chinna Rao alias Sudheer before DGP Goutam Sawang in Vijayawada on Thursday.
Sudheer was a divisional committee member of Pedabayalu-Korukonda area committee and his surrender is a big blow to the Maoist movement in AOBSZC (Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee), as he was one among the few tribal leaders from this region, who held considerable sway among the locals.
Now the only major tribal leader left in this region is Kakuri Pandana alias Jagan.
Sudheer had walked out of the Maoist movement, immediately after the Koyyuru encounter. And after coming out he not only expressed his resentment but also had strongly criticised the Maoist non-tribal leaders for their disdaining attitude towards the tribal cadres and tribal leaders.
The Maoist movement began in AOB region some time in 1980 and the basic ideology was to bring justice to the tribals, who had been facing repression from all sections, during that period. Their call appealed to the tribals and several people joined their fold.
But over the years, especially in the last five years, the flow of fresh tribal blood into the movement has been seeing a dwindling phase and as per documents recovered from the encounter sites, in the last two years, there has been practically no recruitment from the AOB region and the Maoists have been infusing cadres from the Dandakaranya (DK) region.
All along, the leadership has been held by non-tribals, either from Andhra Pradesh or Telangana. And despite their dependence on tribals, Sudheer had pointed out that the tribal leaders were not given their due, their opinion was not being considered and rather being harassed and treated as second rate cadres.
Sudheer apparently had a difference of opinion when the Maoists had killed about four tribals in the last one year, after branding them as police informers.
All the main tribal leaders who hailed from Visakha agency and had held good influence over the tribals and who had motivated several others to join the movement, have either died or have surrendered in the last five years.
They include Kudumula Venkata Rao alias Ravi, Bakkuri Venkat Ramana alias Ganesh and Gemmeli Narayan Rao alias Jambri. While the first died of some sickness, the other two were killed in encounters. Leaders such as Naveen, Swarna and now Sudheer have surrendered, leaving the Maoist movement in its lowest ebb in the AOB region, for the first time since its beginning in 1980.