Nellore a shelter zone for Maoists
Tuesday September 12 2006 11:33 IST
NELLORE: For Maoists, Nellore seems to be a shelter zone and a place to fall back and regroup, if the history of the past few decades is any indication.
The district, which is at the tail-end of the AP coastline, is bordered by Prakasam, Kadapa and Chittoor districts and Tamil Nadu and the Bay of Bengal.
With a dense forest cover on its borders with other districts and a coastline, which could be used as an escape route, it presents a perfect place for a shelter zone for the extremists.
The Naxal movement in the district, to a large extent, had been dormant before the murder of Venka Reddy, a landlord in Tallapaka village in Kavali Rural Mandal in 1960.
Intha Ramana Reddy, Gaddam Kota Reddy, Neelakani Raghavulu and others responsible for the murder were arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment. From 1960 to 1972, Nellore saw Naxal violence.
Revolutionary outfits like RSU, PDSU, Pragathiseela Mahila Samakhya became active during this time. Students and unemployed youth were attracted to such movements.
During that period, Adinarayana Reddy, the father of the present Alluri MLA Kattamreddy Vishnuvardhan Reddy, was killed in a bomb blast, the handiwork of extremists.
CPM municipal councillor Malakonda Reddy was brutally murdered in the municipal office itself.
The reign of terror continued till the Emergency in the country. And during Emergency, the extremist outfits became non-functional.
When the State Government banned the People’s War Group, the presence of Naxalites again became evident in the district.
Especially those who migrated from the Telangana region sought refuge in the forests of Rapur, Tegacharla, Udayagiri, Penchalakona, Seetharamapuram, Siddheswarakona, Dakkali, Pannani, Balayapalle, Marripadu and other areas.
During this period, labourers in Somasila project demanded a hike in wages and social amenities. They were actively supported by the Naxals, who in the process, were able to gain their sympathy.
In 1992, when a Congress leader was threatened and money was demanded from him, police became alert and from then on, till 1997, there were reports of encounters between Naxals and the police.
During this period, Naxals made a vain bid to attack an explosives manufacturing unit in Saidapuram Mandal.
With increasing police vigilance and measures taken by SPs Krishna Prasad and Ramana Murthy during that time the Naxal movement faced several setbacks.
But people came to know about the extent of Naxals’ sway when Penchalakona and Bhairavakona dalams became active in Nellore and neighboring districts of Kadapa and Prakasam. Both had their bases in the forests of Nellore.
When an encounter that took place in Kottalamarri on Nellore-Kadapa border two Naxalites belonging to Telangana region were killed, it became common knowledge that the forests of the district had turned into a fall-back point for the extremists.
In joint operations Nellore and Kadapa police were successful to some extent in containing the Naxal threat to the region.
Naxal leaders Suryam and Padmakka were killed in Kovuru encounter and its was reported that in retaliation Ongole MP Magunti Subbirami Reddy was murdered.
After that incident, Kavali division became an active Naxal zone. Incidentally, Janashakti Naxal top leader Riaz alias Venkateswarlu was a native of Venkateswarapuram in Kavali Rural Mandal.
It was said that Riaz was responsible for the recruitment of a large number of youth to the extremist cadres.
Nellore District has been known to be home to some dreaded extremist leaders and the latest incident of weapons shipments is loads of hectic activity for the district police.