ANDHRA PRADESH

Police pit ex-naxals against PW cadres

NIZAMABAD MARCH 30. Anticipating retaliation from the People's War naxalites, the district police have decided to pit the former militants against the underground cadres by asking them to safeguard Government buildings and vital installations in the district.

This is the first time that the surrendered naxalites have been asked to protect Government buildings in the villages. Earlier, there were instances when the services of the former militants were utilised during the bandh calls and elections to ensure that the PW naxals do not commit any offence.

In the wake of the killing of the NTSZC member and Nizamabad division committee secretary, Polam Sudarshan Reddy alias Ramakrishna, the district police have beefed up security in the district. The Kamareddy division has been put on high alert because of the spurt in naxal activity. The police have been asked to do round-the-clock patrolling to avert any incident. Despite the precautions, the PW naxals tried to blast the office of the Kamareddy Revenue Division officer in the early hours of today.

According to sources, the police have deployed the former militants in 80 highly naxal-affected villages to guard the Government buildings and other installations. The Mandal Revenue Office, the Mandal Parishad Development office, gram panchayat buildings, telephone exchanges and the godowns of soft drink companies besides the towers of the cellular telephone companies are being protected by former militants.

The police, suspecting that the naxals would try to cause damage to public property, decided to ask the former militants and the local villagers to safeguard Government buildings. The police, besides deploying security personnel at vital installations, decided to use the former naxals as a shield to deter the PW from causing damage to the properties.

By pitting the former naxals against the PW, the police seem to have pre-empted any move by the underground outfit to cause major damage. The presence of the former naxals at the Government buildings has also ensured that the chances of PW naxals trying to target the public property comes down. Sources pointed out that the former militants are also not taking any chances at the present juncture because any incident in their village would invariably raise an accusing finger at them.

To prevent such a doubt, the former militants have consented to take up the responsibility of protecting the buildings knowing well that the risk involved in such a job is high. The former naxals are also concerned that any incident in the villages would bring them under pressure and constant watch. The villagers have expressed their willingness to safeguard Government properties on the ground that every time the naxals target public property the people are the sufferers.

There are a number of villages in the district, which are suffering because of the mindless violence by the underground cadres. The blasting of telephone exchanges, rail engines, railway stations, burning of RTC buses have forced the authorities to stop the services. In the case telephone exchanges, it took a long time before the services were revived.

The killing of Ramakrishna is expected to slow down the PW movement in the district for some time. However, indications are that the naxals would try to concentrate their activities in Kamareddy area because of some hold. The naxals had already committed a couple of offences in the division to prove their existence. The killing of the Tadwai Telugu Desam Party convenor, Baddam Narsa Reddy, attempt on the life of a police constable in Kamareddy town and blasting of a rail engine near Rangampet all point out to the stepped up presence of the PW naxals.

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