ANDHRA PRADESH

DWCRA members ignore PW diktat

ANNARAM (Nizamabad dt.) JUNE 26. Undeterred by the stern warning and arm twisting tactics adopted by the People's War, members of 24 DWCRA groups in this highly naxal-affected village in Machareddy mandal, about 90 km from the district headquarters, confronted the banned outfit by refusing to wind up the DWCRA groups.

The PW has lost whatever sympathy it had in this village after 12 armed naxals beat up two DWCRA group leaders -- Mothukula Laxmi and Bestha Sangeeta -- last week charging them with running a campaign against them and told them to wind up the DWCRA groups. The groups were branded pro-police and some members accused of turning police informants.

The village was once a naxal stronghold but 16 active militants surrendered during the last few years. Police always kept a watch on PW movement here and raided the village to conduct cordon and search operations. During once such operation, the police recovered explosives from the possession of some militants. The village upa-sarpanch, Swamy Goud, was picked up for interrogation.

The DWCRA women in large numbers reportedly marched to the police station and persuaded the police to release the upa-sarpanch stating that he was not involved in the naxal activity. In the presence of the then SP, Shanka Brata Bagchi, a large number of women criticised naxal actions. Some DWCRA group leaders literally challenged the naxals to enter the village.

The naxals were warned that they would be greeted by women armed with chilli powder and broomsticks. It was during this interaction that the DWCRA groups reportedly promised that they would try and secure the surrender of two active militants -- Srinivas Reddy and Tallari Laxman.

The women successfully secured the release of the upa-sarpanch. They held a meeting the next day where the parents of the two underground militants were summoned and asked to persuade their wards to surrender. It was coincidence that within two months, the two militants surrendered before the police.

The PW, fearing loosing hold in the village in the wake of the surrenders, visited the village last week. Recalling the nightmarish incident, 45-year-old Laxmi told The Hindu on Thursdayt: "Twelve armed annalu (naxals) came to her house and asked her to come along with them. Sangeeta and she were taken to the village outskirts and questioned about the provocative statements.''

"Without listening to our pleas, the naxals rained lathi blows''. The two women were told to mend their ways and wind up the DWCRA groups. Sangeeta told the naxals that there was no question of disbanding the groups. She said, "If all the groups are wound up, we will also do the same''.

The Kamareddy DSP, J.Parimala Hana Nutan, told The Hindu that 12 armed naxalites beating two women was a heinous crime. She said DWCRA group leaders had denounced naxal violence as they wanted to prevent the youth from being lured into the underground outfit. She assured all protection to DWCRA group members. She pointed out that women had recently foiled the PW attempt to kidnap the TDP mandal convener. "This shows the villagers' reluctance to sympathise with the naxals,'' she added. The police themselves brought the injured women to Kamareddy and provided them treatment. The were paid Rs. 1,000 each.

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