Saturday, September 03, 2005

Minister Chandrasekhara Rao meets Maoist sympathiser in jail

Hyderabad: Indian Labour Minister K. Chandrasekhara Rao Saturday called on Maoist sympathiser and revolutionary writer Varavara Rao at the Chanchalguda central jail in the Andhra Pradesh capital.

Two days after appealing to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, the chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), to lift the ban on Maoists, Chandrasekhara Rao visited the high-security jail and called on Varavara Rao.

He is also likely to meet Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy and Home Minister K. Jana Reddy to request them to release Varavara Rao and withdraw the cases against him.

Chandrasekhara Rao, who heads the Telengana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), said Varvara Rao's wife P. Hemalatha had requested him to intervene and seek his release.

She told him that her husband was unwell and had been falsely implicated by the police.

The revolutionary writer was arrested Aug 19 after the government re-imposed a ban on the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) and its frontal organisations including the Revolutionary Writers' Association or Virasam.

Varvara Rao, one of the founders of Virasam, was taken into custody along with Virasam president Kalyan Rao.

The duo had acted as emissaries of the CPI-Maoist in last year's peace talks with the state government and were facing several criminal charges including one relating to the killing of a police constable by Maoists.

Chandrasekhara Rao's move appeared to be aimed at winning the hearts of Maoists who were annoyed with his silence over the ban and the TRS' continued participation in the Congress-led government in New Delhi despite the demand of a separate Telengana state not being fulfilled.

TRS, which is fighting for separate statehood to the backward Telangana region, had pulled out of the Congress-led government in the state in July after the Maoists issued an ultimatum and even shot dead a party leader in the Karimnagar district.

But the party did not snap its ties with the Congress in the central coalition.

Chandrasekhara Rao had Friday announced in New Delhi that TRS would go it alone in the municipal elections later this month, and would review its support to the central government.

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