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Top leader’s arrest a big blow to Maoist movement

K. Srinivas Reddy

Malla Raji Reddy was in charge of the revolutionary movement in the south west regional bureau


Reddy was underground for over three decades

He was a member of the Maoist Central Committee


HYDERABAD: The Maoists made headlines with the jailbreak in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh on Sunday, but intelligence sleuths gave them a big jolt by ensnaring a top leader in Ernakulam district of Kerala just a day later.

The arrest of Malla Raji Reddy, alias Sattenna, a member of the Maoist Central Committee, in Angamaly town, is considered a big blow to the Maoist movement. Reddy hails from Karimnagar district of Andhra Pradesh and is in charge of the revolutionary movement in the south west regional bureau (SWRB), which includes Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat.

Reddy, who has been underground for over three decades, is one of the seniormost Maoist leaders and a contemporary of Maoist chief Ganapathy. He is now a member of the Polit Bureau and the Central Committee.

The arrest comes in the backdrop of a series of reverses the Maoists have faced in several States, notwithstanding their capabilities to inflict deadly blows on security forces in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Bihar.

If the Maoist writ runs in the Dandakaranya forest belt — from Gadchiroli in Maharashtra to Bastar in Chhattisgarh — law enforcement agencies are gaining the upper hand in other parts of the country.

Through coordinated, intelligence-driven operations, the police have arrested or killed senior leaders in the last two years. In Jharkhand, Misir Besra, a Central Committee Member (CCM) was arrested in September last.

This was preceded by the arrest of Krishnan Srinivasan, secretary of the Maharashtra Maoist wing, in Mumbai (August 2007); the killing of Sande Rajamouli, CCM, in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh (June 2007); the killing of Wadkapur Chandramouli, CCM, in Visakhapatnam (December, 2006); the arrest of Sheela Marandi, CCM and wife of Kishan Da, senior leader and CCM, in Jharkhand; the killing of Burra Chinnaiah, Andhra Pradesh committee secretary; and Matta Ravi Kumar, Andhra Pradesh committee member (July and June 2006).

In 2006, the Andhra Pradesh police arrested Narayan Sanyal, senior naxal leader, in Khammam. In 2005, another top leader Maimuddin alias Ravi, in charge of the north Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, was gunned down in East Champaran, Bihar, while two senior leaders Sudhil Roy and Patitpaban Haldar were arrested in west Midnapore, West Bengal.

Maoists active in Kerala?

Dennis Marcus Mathew reports from Alappuzha:

Malla Raji Reddy is the second Central Committee member to be apprehended here.

On June 22, Sande Rajamouli was reportedly arrested in Kollam, though the police deny this.Kerala Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan told the Assembly on September 19 that the State police had been directed to tighten vigil across the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border. This followed Tamil Nadu Maoist secretary Sundaramoorthy’s reported police confession that he had lived in Nedumkandam and other areas of Idukki district for eight months.

However, Mr. Balakrishnan told The Hindu in Alappuzha on November 20 that the State was not facing any kind of naxalite threat.

According to sources, a meeting of the Maoist Central Committee, held between January 28 and 31, discussed in detail the organisation’s activities in Kerala.

The SWRB resolutions in the meeting, sources said, contained details crucial to Kerala. More important, the directions to the Kerala committee were to continue focussing on the “Tamil Nadu perspective area,” which possibly denotes the borders of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, particularly Wayanad, where there have been earlier reports of Naxalite activity.

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