TAMIL NADU

Naxals `planning' abduction to force release of their leaders

K.V. Subramanya

BANGALORE: Naxalites who owe allegiance to the Communist Party of India (Maoist) are planning to abduct a prominent politician or a senior police or forest official to obtain the release of their two top leaders who are in jail.

Sources in the State Home Department told The Hindu on Saturday that naxalites are planning to carry out a "spectacular act" to prove their strength and to obtain the release of their jailed leaders — Ramesh and Ujjani Gowda.

The police arrested Ramesh, said to be a member of the Central Committee of the CPI (Maoist), in Raichur a few years ago. Gowda was arrested at the KSRTC bus stand in Hospet, Bellary district, recently.

The sources said they had information that naxalites could even attack the policemen who escort Ramesh, who is in Gulbarga jail, to the court, and obtain his release. Gowda is lodged in Bellary Central Prison.

According to sources, soon after Gowda was arrested, a senior journalist prevailed upon the political administration to ensure that the police did not act tough against him. Naxalite sympathisers feared that the police would kill Gowda in a fake encounter.

The sources said that after Patel Sudhakar Reddy, an engineering graduate from Mehbubnagar in Andhra Pradesh, took over as the chief of the Karnataka unit of the CPI (Maoist) two months ago, naxalites have regrouped themselves. They have formed two squads named Karavali and Varahi.

As the Karnataka cadre is not considered strong enough, Sudhakar Reddy has got his own men from Andhra Pradesh. Cherukuri Rajendra alias Uday, based in Mangalore, is the party's next in command after Sudhakar Reddy. Rajendra has been in Karnataka for more than a decade and he reportedly had close contacts with a former IPS officer, the sources said. Recently, the CPI (Maoist) formed the South West Regional Committee to expand and strengthen its activities in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The Western Ghats occupies a prominent place in its new scheme of things, the sources said. After the formation of the SWRC, the CPI (Maoist) is recruiting members and conducting training camps in Hosur, Chandragiri and other places in Tamil Nadu bordering Karnataka.

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