Police swoop down on ex-Maoist emissaries

Varavara Rao

Varavara Rao  

Varavara Rao, Kalyan Rao held, charged under Public Security Act

Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: The police in Andhra Pradesh began a crackdown on the organisations banned two days ago — they arrested the former Maoist emissaries, Varavara Rao and G. Kalyan Rao, amid high drama here on Friday.

Mr. Varavara Rao, a leading light of the Revolutionary Writers Association (Virasam, in Telugu), was picked up in a pre-dawn swoop from his apartment at Malakpet while Mr. Kalyan Rao was whisked away soon after he addressed a press conference at the old Press Club in the evening.

Mr. Varavara Rao was produced before a magistrate after being charged under the provisions of the Public Security Act, 1992, which the Government had invoked to clamp the ban on the Maoists and their frontal organisations, including `Virasam.' He was remanded to judicial custody till August 29 and later shifted amid tight security to the Chanchalguda jail. A long list of cases is pending against both Virasam leaders for sharing a dais with Maoist leader Ramakrishna and others last year.

Hectic activity

The arrests sparked off hectic activity with balladeer Gaddar rushing to Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy to demand Mr. Varavara Rao's release and lifting the ban on Virasam. Dr. Reddy refused to oblige, saying matters had gone beyond his control and that the law would take its own course.

Director-General of Police Swaranjit Sen and Additional DGP (Intelligence) K. Aravinda Rao briefed the Chief Minister and Home Minister K. Jana Reddy on the developments. Mr. Sen justified the arrests saying the Virasam leaders were expressly supporting the Maoists. He did not rule out the possibility of arresting Gaddar also. At around 4 a.m., a posse of plainclothes policemen knocked at the doors of Varavara Rao's apartment. However, Mr. Rao's family members did not open the door demanding the presence of uniformed policemen with proper warrants. They explained later that there was a threat to him from ex-naxalite Nayeem.

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