Maoist leader calls for peace in view of COVID-19 pandemic: Left wing extremism
Senior Maoist leader Jallandhar Reddy alias Krishna, the State Zonal Committee Member in Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee, has made a plea through a video for peace in the LWE-affected areas in Andhra-Odisha Border region, amid the COVID-19 threat.
In the video that was released late on Sunday night, he said there would be no offensive from the Maoist side, as long as the people and the government fight against the virus. He, however, said that the Maoists would not hesitate to retaliate any offensive from the security forces, as a self protection measure.
In the message, the Maoist leader asked the security forces not to indulge in combing operation but instead focus on saving people from the pandemic. He also said that since January, the security forces engaged in anti-Maoist operation both on the Andhra and Odisha side have stepped up the offensive and have been conducting area domination exercise even during the testing time of COVID-19.
He accused the forces for excesses in Jodambo area of Odisha and in Koyyuru, Pedabayalu and GK Veedhi mandals in the Visakha Agency.
A letter with similar content was released by Kailsam, secretary of AOBSZC. He also blamed the government for pollution and environment degradation, which was the main reason for the spread of such viruses and diseases. He also released an advisory with do’s and don’ts and how to keep COVID-19 at bay.
‘Veracity being checked’
Meanwhile, senior officials from the AP Police said they were checking the veracity and intent of both the letter and the video.
In the past, whenever they (Maoist) were unable to bear the heat, they had come up with such proposals, but there was no truth in their intent. If they were really keen on focusing on COVID-19, they would not have killed 17 CRPF men and injuring another 14, in an ambush on March 21, in Sukma region in Chhattisgarh, said a senior officer engaged in anti-Maoist operation in AOB.
“The fact is that their area of domination is fast shrinking in Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Andhra, and they want a window to re-establish themselves,” he said.“In the AOB region, their area of operation has been curtailed to about just 1,500 sq km in the cut-off region. Both the BSF on the Odisha side and A.P. Police and CRPF have made deep inroads on the Andhra side. This is hurting the Maoist in a big way, as armed outposts are springing up in short periods in their territory,” said a senior officer from AP SIB.
The area domination by the security forces was aimed at instilling confidence among the tribal people. “Moreover, due to our deep forays into the inhospitable terrain, government schemes have started to reach the tribal people and they are getting road and telecommunication connectivity. “And that is why tribal people are no longer swaying to the tune of the LWE, which affecting their (Maoist) tribal base,” said a senior police officer.