HYDERABAD: Though the state government has been repeatedly announcing its intention to renew a fresh dialogue with Maoists, the police have included 650 new names to its hit-list of 1,200 Maoists, where the reward amount on each of these individuals has been scaled up.
Most of these names are from districts where the state police has been claiming that the Maoist movement has been on the downslide. Visakhapatnam rural, which registered a steep rise in Maoist violence over the past five months has 113 new names, the highest in the list of fresh names.
This is followed by Warangal with 103, Guntur and Anantapur with 67 each, Adilabad with 48 and Mahabubnagar with 43 names. Nellore district ranks last with only four wanted Maoists. Earlier, there were only 18 Maoists in Visakhapatnam rural and only nine Maoists in Anantapur district who carried reward amounts.
In a GO issued by the state in the last week of July, before extending the ban on Maoists by another two years, the state intelligence department submitted a fresh list with nearly 650 new names — rated as the 'most wanted' by the police for waging a war against the state. Most of the wanted Maoists in the fresh list are from Telangana (286), followed by coastal Andhra (264) and Rayalaseema (83).
The state has increased the reward amount on all these wanted Maoists and their leaders by nearly Rs 16.2 crore. The government gives this amount as incentive to any of the identified Maoists who want to surrender and join the mainstream.
However, government statistics reveal that most of the rewards are cornered by trigger-happy special police parties who are out on a mission to eliminate rather than bring Maoists to justice. Police records show that there were 1,233 Maoists with rewards on their head in 2002. At least 182 of them have been eliminated in the past five years, while 83 were arrested or have surrendered on health grounds. The Maoist movement has been at the receiving end over the past few years with nearly 600 of their important cadre getting killed, including 140 women Maoists.
The state has also raised the reward amount on each of the 27 members from the Maoist State Committee from Rs 8 lakh to Rs 10 lakh. This was done following the elimination of state committee leaders including Madhav, Matta Ravi Kumar, Sande Rajamouli and Wadkapur Chandramouli by the special police in alleged encounters in the last two years, especially after the failure of peace talks with the Congress government.
Some of the present state committee members include Shakamuri Appa Rao, Patel Sudhakar Reddy and M Balakrishna, who is the Andhra-Orissa-Border (AOB) Committee secretary. Similarly, 13 members of the Maoist Central Committee, including its secretary Muppala Lakshmana Rao alias Ganapathy, carry a reward of Rs 12 lakh each.