Displaying the material recovered from the dump that could go into making of 3,000 hand grenades, Mr. Girish Kumar told a press conference here on Monday that this was a sign that Maoists were trying to revive their activities. They chose a safe shelter at Pydiparru village near Tanuku which was never known for naxalite activity in the past.
The DGP said the villagers were surprised that a Maoist workshop was functioning amongst them for the last three years. The material was manufactured elsewhere but it was assembled into finished products at the village. He did not rule out ready-for-use grenades leaving the village before police stumbled upon the hideout.
The huge quantity of material brought here from Tanuku included over 1,600 grenade shells, plastic chambers, springs, rings, safety pins, hammers, live ammunition and six rocket launchers.
The DGP added that Solipeta Kondal Reddy who was one of the two Maoist leaders killed in the encounters three days ago was the brain behind the grenade manufacture. He handed over spare parts to one Veeraraghavulu who rented a house at Pydiparru identifying himself as a small trader in nuts and bolts. Veeraraghavulu is being questioned by police.
Mr. Girish Kumar dismissed as baseless reports that Kondal Reddy and the other leader Shakamuri Appa Rao were picked up, tortured and killed in cold blood. He said police learnt about movement of action teams of Maoists based on information that they performed recce here and there. Political leaders in such areas who were vulnerable to attacks were immediately put on alert.
He estimated that about 400 underground Maoists could be there in the State. He refused to answer a question whether police here were in touch with its counterpart in West Bengal in tracking down Mallojula Koteswara Rao alias Kishanji who is said to be leading the party in that State.
Special Correspondent adds from Khammam:
Two senior police officers of Chhattisgarh flew to Kothagudem on Monday for questioning the three top Maoists reported to be in the custody of the anti-naxal squads in the district. They are Amrish Misra, Superintendent of Police, Dantewada district, and Ankit Garg, SP (Intelligence).
An important Maoist leader, Madakam Singanna alias Veeranna was among those in the custody. A member of the state committee, he has been in command of a company of the CPI (Maoist) spearheading operations in the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh. Two others in the custody of the police included a deputy commander of a company and they were said to be equally important.
They were camping in a tribal village near Mulkalpalli in the district for the past few days when police surrounded it and took them into custody. Madakam Singanna had spearheaded several offensives along the A.P.-Chhattisgarh border.