Big boost to police as Maoist activities dip

Andhra Pradesh, once the hotbed of naxal activity with encounters and extremist violence leading to deaths being reported almost on a daily basis, has undergone a radical change.

By P S Jayaram (Hyderabad Highlights)

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Published: Fri 20 Jan 2012, 12:19 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 11:18 AM

For the first time in over three decades of Maoist presence in the state, it has witnessed the lowest level of violence involving naxalites in the year just gone by with just seven deaths reported during 2011 linked to ultra left extremism. The number of cases registered was 41, the lowest since the formation of People’s War Group (PWG), the earlier avatar of CPI (Maoist).

The rapid decline in the Maoist activity comes as a big boost to the state police whose anti-Naxalite strategy, referred to as “Andhra model,” has yielded the desired result over the years. The Maoists have been virtually driven out of the state which was once their stronghold. When the Naxalite movement was at its peak in early 1990s, the ultras virtually ran parallel administration in vast swathes of the backward Telangana region, now seeking its own rule.

According to official records, a total of 2,065 civilians, including several officials, and 575 policemen were killed during the last 31 years of Naxal violence in the state.

Top cops associated with the anti-naxal movement attribute the success to the two-pronged strategy adopted by the police. It involved modernisation of the force to execute intelligence-led precision strikes and massive development in the remote areas particularly focusing on roads, infrastructure, communication, schools and hospitals.

Formed in 1989 as a special wing to counter Maoist activities by adopting jungle warfare and guerrilla tactics, Greyhounds has emerged as a role model for the rest of the country. Once the epicenter of the Naxalite movement, AP has now succeeded in flushing out Maoists from the state.

Naxalite violence had peaked in 1991 when 178 civilians and 49 policemen were killed and police registered 953 cases. As many as 21 out of the total 23 districts in the state were declared Naxalite-affected in the early 1990s and the naxal violence had resulted in 145 deaths in 1990, 227 in 1991, 212 deaths in 1992 and 143 in 1993.

And now, the cops claim that the number of armed Maoists has come down from 2,000 to 300 during the last ten years. Also, the Maoists lost public support even in areas where they used to run parallel administration in the past. States like West Bengal and Chhattisgarh, where Maoists activity has increased in the past few years, are keen on emulating the ‘Andhra Model’ to check the extremists menace in their states.

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