'Inactive' Maoists now working under Telangana banner in AP

'Inactive' Maoists now working under Telangana banner in AP

The Special Intelligence Branch (SIB) of Andhra Pradesh Police, which monitors the Maoists, has reportedly gathered "credible information" about the outlaws carrying their activities under the banner of the virtually-defunct Telangana Political Joint Action Committee (JAC).

Though no Maoist leader worth the name is directly involved in the statehood-related agitation, many recent recruits in the force are said to be participating in the programmes under the aegis of the JAC, top police sources said.

Their targets are the ruling Congress and the opposition Telugu Desam Party, which they see as the main forces blocking the creation of Telangana state.

"When the agitation for a separate state began in late 2009, some Maoist elements joined ranks with the students of Osmania University and indulged in violence. Now, they seem to have 'graduated' to a higher level and started working under the so-called political JAC, though the latter as such exists only on paper," a top-ranking police official said.

While the political parties spearheading the statehood agitation always claimed to be leading a peaceful struggle, the violence that marked every major programme like the 'Million March' in Hyderabad clearly established the hand of "militant elements", he added.

That the naxals, who ran riot in the Telangana region of AP till early 2000s before successive governments totally crushed them, began re-grouping became evident with the killing of the deputy general manager of a private firm in Warangal district recently.
"The killing of the DGM can't be seen in isolation. Our investigations revealed that the naxals carried out the murder with a clear plan to announce their re-arrival in the region," the police official pointed out.

The Telangana agitation opened up an avenue for the Maoists to recruit cadres afresh in the region, police believe.

These former naxals are now suspected to be pumping money to their erstwhile colleagues and also helping in the recruitment of new cadres for the Maoist party, he said.
"There is no conclusive evidence as yet on this modus operandi but we have reports about money flowing from the real-estate operators to some unidentified sources. The Maoists are apparently among the beneficiaries," the top-ranking police official noted.
In districts like Medak, Warangal and Karimnagar that were once the hotbeds of naxalite violence, some underground Maoists cadres have supposedly been taking shelter since the statehood agitation reached a feverish pitch.

With the Telangana protagonists threatening to step up their agitation even through violent means, police apprehend that the Maoists might try to take advantage of the situation and spread their activities.

"We have already sounded the Centre about this possibility. On our part, we are keeping a close tab on the activities of the JAC and its leadership. With the Central security forces expected to return to the state, we can handle the situation effectively," an Additional Director General of Police said.