Security forces see it as a strategic move in the wake of setbacks, including surrender of senior leader Krishna
Gajarla Ravi alias Uday, secretary of the banned CPI (Maoist) in the Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee (AOBSZC), who has been out of the AOB region for quite some time, is back to head the movement.
Uday had gone into hiding in the safe zones of Chhattisgarh about a year ago as he was suffering from severe diabetes and other health issues.
But reports confirm that Uday is back to take stock of the movement in the AOB region.
It is learnt that Uday’s return is linked to the recent surrender of Muttannagari Jalandhar Reddy alias Krishna, a senior member of the CPI (Maoist) in the AOBSZC.
Krishna’s surrender is considered a big blow to the Maoist movement in the AOB region, as he is the senior most leader and a trained military strategist. He also held considerable sway over the party members and the tribal people of the region.
Since the exchange of fire at Ramaguda in the AOB region in October 2016, in which more than 30 Maoists had been killed by the Greyhounds, the elite anti-Naxal force of Andhra Pradesh, the Left Wing extremists have been losing their grip on the region.
The top Maoist leadership had almost been wiped out in the incident, leaving a few such as Uday, Ramakrishna alias RK, and Chalapathi to build the movement afresh. All the three have gone into hibernation.
It is learnt that Uday has returned to stem the surrenders, revive the movement and, most essentially, find a suitable replacement for Krishna, says a senior police officer engaged in the anti-Maoist operations.
Post the Ramaguda incident, there has been a series of encounters in which a few top leaders such as Jambri have been killed. And then followed the surrender of senior leaders such as Naveen.
These developments, coupled with the security forces making deep inroads on both sides of the AOB and setting up armed outposts at places as interior as Rudakota on the Andhra Pradesh side and Jantapayi, Hantalaguda and Darlabeda on the Odisha side, has weakened the LWE considerably.
At this juncture, the surrender of Krishna has come as a big blow to the movement, and the burden has fallen on Aruna.
The security forces consider the return of Uday as a strategic move by the Maoist Central Committee and Military Commission.
Apart from surrenders, area domination by the security forces, and encounters, the COVID-19 pandemic is another factor that has hit the Maoists hard.
Sources say that in Chhattisgarh, especially in the districts bordering Odisha such as Sukma and Bastar, about 150 Maoists have contracted the virus. This has restricted their cross-border movement.
“Keeping all these in mind, Uday’s entry is on expected lines,” says a senior police officer