Maoists step up campaign to strengthen cadre base

D. Chandra Bhaskar Rao

Sarpancah of Pusugupa village, a few youths whisked away

Pressure on tribals to stay away from authorities

BHADRACHALAM: The CPI (Maoist) is out to extend its Chhattisgarh model of success to the forest villages of Khammam. The Maoist cadre have taken up an intensive campaign in their erstwhile strongholds along the interstate border for motivating militant supporters and sympathisers as part of the Peoples Liberation Guerilla Army (PLGA) formation week (December 2-8) celebrations.

In a bid to regain their lost hold, they are busy floating Sanghams -- habitation-level committees -- thus establishing a parallel system in the village administration. More than half a dozen villages in Charla mandal have the new committees functioning under the stewardship of the Venkatapuram area committee. The dalams are frequenting the tribal villages, holding grama sabhas and publicly announcing the names of tribal leaders and activists thus inducted into the panels. Many of the members listed in the sanghams were beneficiaries of government-sponsored programmes and they have been strongly opposing their identification with the Maoists. The Sarpancah of Pusugupa village and a few other youths were whisked away by the Maoists to Pamedu forests in Chhattisgarh for a sort of counseling as they had strongly resisted the move to involve them in the Sanghams. It had been the same experience with residents in Kurnavelli village where from some people were kidnapped and let off as their cooperation was assured. The tribal communities were under pressure to stay away from the local authorities. They were banned from using mobile phones. People stopped plying autos in the forest routes thus leaving the tribal communities virtually cut off from rest of the district.

The village sanghams, which were floated have been entrusted with the task of monitoring the functioning of the village schools, the public distribution system besides keeping a watch on the activities and movements of the police and officials.