Saturday, April 18, 2009

Naxals restrain from violence during phase I polls

User Rating: / 0 Saturday, 18 April 2009

Hyderabad, April 18: A new chapter opened in the chequered three decade-old naxalite history of the State as the Maoists for the first time restrained from violence totally up to the first phase of polling on Thursday.

Senior police officers are, however, keeping their fingers crossed hoping that the record will be maintained till the end of the second phase on April 23. They said never in the past since 1985 mid-term elections did the State go through polls that were not affected by extremist violence in one way or the other. The naxalites targeted every election since 1985 claiming they did not trust democracy and even gave poll boycott calls.

Though the current elections have assumed a new dimension as the Maoists are believed to have synchronised their Tactical Counter Offensive Campaign (TCOC) with polls, their strategy was apparently not implemented in the State. The TCOC was generally carried out twice a year in December -- January and May/June -- by concentrating on attacks against enemy, particularly the police. The attacks are carried out in operations by large numbers of extremists.

Barring Andhra Pradesh, the Maoists have gone ahead with TCOC in all the naxalite-affected States in the last fortnight. They killed over 30 policemen and several civilians in Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Bihar during the period. Fifteen of them, including five polling staff, died in poll related incidents alone on Thursday.

On the contrary, Andhra Pradesh reported only a single incident on April 11 when Congress Zilla Parishad Territorial Constituency member Mamidi Chander Rao was threatened to resign from his post at G.K. Veedhi in Visakhapatnam district.

Andhra Pradesh was worst hit by naxalite violence in 1994 Assembly elections when 25 persons, including 15 policemen, were killed. These policemen and four other civilians died in landmine blasts in Karimnagar and Warangal districts. The next Assembly elections in 1999 saw the killing of Telugu Desam MLA P. Purshotham Rao in Sirpur Kagaznagar town of Adilabad and SP C. Umesh Chandra in Hyderabad.

Former Home Minister (TDP) A. Madhava Reddy was killed in a landmine blast by naxalites during the municipal elections in 2000 while TDP Parliamentary Party leader K. Yerran Naidu suffered injuries in a similar blast in Srikakulam in 2004 Assembly polls.

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