HYDERABAD: With the exception of Andhra Pradesh where focused police action has pushed the Maoists into a corner, the Maoist movement has gradually shifted to Dandakaranya (DK), Andhra-Orissa Border (AOB), Bihar-Jharkhand and Maharashtra regions.
Yet much as the Maoist central leadership claims that it was a "tactical retreat" from AP and that the cadre was shifted to boost AOB, DK and NTSZC (North Telangana Special Zonal Committee) and Gadchiroli areas, what has greatly affected the Maoist movement in AP is the lack of resources like weaponry, communications, transport and technologies and courier network.
Senior cops said the recent losses suffered by Maoists are enormous. "The surrender of Sambasivudu certainly will have a considerable impact on the revolutionary movement in the state," an IPS officer involved in anti-naxal operations in coastal districts told `TOI'. Sources said the Maoists bore the brunt because of AP police's extensive intelligence network, training in counter-insurgency warfare and "unlimited powers" of the cops.
"The AP police has the upper hand from the tactical point of view. No wonder, the Maoists have lost a sizable part of the state leadership and cadre in the last two years," a senior cop averred. Apart from Madhav, top Maoist leaders like Matta Ravikumar, Vadkapur Chandramouli, Obulesu, Sande Rajamouli, Vijaykumar have been killed in encounters, while Malla Rajireddy, Lanka Papireddy and M Srinivas Rao have surrendered.
Even as the support base of the party was fast eroding in several towns and villages, the YSR government's measures such as hundred per cent increase in the strength of the elite Greyhounds commando force, acquiring helicopters for anti-naxal operations and sanctioning of Rs 2,000 crore of aid to deal with the naxal menace have pushed the Maoists on to a back foot.
But the fact that the Maoists have made advances in other states in spite of the reverses in AP cannot be ignored. "They could make inroads in Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Jharkhand only because of centralised planning, direction and AP Maoist leaders' tactical guerrilla warfare," a naxal-hit district SP revealed.
Police sources said though Sambasivudu had stayed away from the Maoist activities for about six months now, he was good at hoodwinking cops with his alacrity and presence of mind. "It was no surprise that he survived 30 encounters. He is brainy and extremely good in guerrilla warfare," another IPS officer said.
Sources said Sambasivudu was well versed with the topography of the Nallamala forests and was instrumental in spreading the extremist movement in the area. A top official said Sambasivudu was more like former State Committee secretary Nalla Adireddy alias Shyam -- killed in the Koyyuru encounter -- who was adept in counter-strategies. "Sambasivudu has got a great eye in field firing," he stated.
Sources said Sambasivudu took the final call to surrender after he was convinced by his brother, ex-naxal Konapuri Ramulu, who is a TRS leader in Nalgonda district now. "Another TRS leader Yadagiri Reddy was also instrumental in ensuring the surrender," a source said. Meanwhile, there are stories doing the rounds that top Maoist leader Katti Rammohanrao may also give up the fight and join the mainstream.