ANDHRA PRADESH

A point of no return for police

What remains of the police outpost building at Mallampet that was demolished by the Maoists.

What remains of the police outpost building at Mallampet that was demolished by the Maoists.   | Photo Credit: — PHOTO: G.N.Rao

D. Chandra Bhaskar Rao

Half a dozen families prefer to stay at Mallampet despite problems



They eke out their living by supplying broken rice and edible oil.

Tribes from Bastar come to the village trekking long distance for their quota of provisions.



MALLAMPET ( Khammam dist): The naxalites of the CPI Maoist, wearing the olive green uniforms and combat shoes, often make their presence felt in the forest village of Mallampet. They walk with pride over the rubble of the massive building that housed for many years the police outpost. It had for long been one of the heavily fortified structures on the inter-state border between Andhra and Chhattisgarh.

The Maoists dalams operating in the forest pocket tried many a time to launch a massive offensive on the structure targeting the special police stationed in the outpost for scouting the wild in hunt of the naxalites, but in vain. The place had been a training ground for the young police officers in anti-naxalite operations. A fortnight long camp in the outpost was mandatory for every new officer coming to the department.

But supporting the forces stationed in the remote forest village, some 18 kilometers away from Edugurallapalli had been a Herculean task. Weapons with such police outposts had always been a major attraction for the Maoists. There was not much to protect, as an officer said, in the forest village except for half a dozen non-tribal families including that of CPI (M) district committee member, Shyamala Venkata Reddy.

Venkata Reddy was done to death in the village on September 6, 1996.

Many families deserted the village in the aftermath of the incident.

Almost a decade after his killing, the Police Department withdrew the special police from the outpost in December 2006 by establishing a full-fledged police station at Edugurallapalli. The Maoists raided the village the very next day.

People ran helter skelter in a bid to save their lives. The Maoists wreaked vengeance on the police outpost premises. They destroyed a major portion of the buildings leaving no scope for the police to return.

“We wanted the police to stay in the outpost. But they were withdrawn overnight without our knowledge. But we cannot desert Mallampet” says Shyamala Easwaramma, widow of the slain CPI (M ) leader.

The tribes including the Gothikoyas from the neighbouring Chhattisgarh had been “good to us”.

“Only six families were left in the village, but all of them were living in perfect harmony with the nature as well as the tribes”, says Easwaramma.

The lands owned by us in the village are of no value. The non-tribal families eke out their living by supplying broken rice and edible oil.

Tribes from Bastar come to the village trekking long distance for their quota of provisions.

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