Top surrendered Naxal says govt plan of development with crackdown working

FP

A top Naxal leader who surrendered recently has said that the government's twin strategy of security with development has begun to hurt the Maoists, leaving the morale of their cadre affected.

"The senior leadership of the party (CPI Maoist) is worried over setbacks due to Operation Greenhunt and the various developmental works undertaken by the government in remote areas of districts like Gadchiroli," Badarpu Mallaiyya alias Shekhar, the in-charge of the South Gadchiroli divisional committee of the CPI (Maoist), who surrendered before the Andhra Pradesh police in November, told The Indian Express here on Wednesday.

Originally from Macchupetha village of Karimnagar district in Andhra, Shekhar, 48, was in Gadchiroli for questioning by the local police. He had been heading the Maoist operations in Bhamragarh, Perimili, Aheri and Sironcha from 2008 onwards till his arrest.

"The morale of the party has been affected by the pressure created by Operation Greenhunt. A lot of areas have been lost to the police," Shekhar said, adding that with people getting employment in government works like road construction, digging of wells, forest jobs etc as well as under the MNREGS, fewer people were joining the CPI (Maoist).

He admitted that the lucrative surrender offers had also enticed many to lay down arms, even as police had stepped up their combing operations. "Barring parts of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, the situation elsewhere is more or less equally bad for the party."

Shekhar specifically cited loss of many parts of Aheri, Perimili and Sironcha in south Gadchiroli that he commanded, along with Bhamragarh and areas of Kurkheda and Korchi in the north.

Asked what the biggest concern of the Maoists was, Shekhar said: "That the party isn't growing. Fresh recruitment has virtually stopped and the Dalam strength has gone down from about 15 to 10." He added that Maoists were trying to counter this by exhorting cadre to increase contact with people.

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