Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Malli Raju Reddy: a prize catch

HYDERABAD: The Maoist party never had it so bad what with a series of arrests of top leaders in the last fortnight and among all those arrested NFDC secretary Sagar is turning out to be the trump card for the AP police, especially SIB.

The latest arrest of Maoist central committee leader and politburo member Malla Raji Reddy alias Sattenna (55) in Kerala has come as a prize catch for the SIB as Raji Reddy is among the top 5 in the all-India Maoist hierarchy.
Unlike in the past, the government is treading cautiously on the issue of encounters with the talk of elections gaining ground in the state. Sources told TOI that the government cannot take chances by earning a bad name in the eyes of the public.

The fact that the chief minister and the home minister have assured that Raji Reddy will be produced in court reveals that the government is treading cautiously on the issue.

Some time ago a Maoist leader who was arrested in Kollam by the AP police was later killed in an 'encounter', which created a lot of furore. "Now, the intelligence sleuths have changed tack. The arrest of Raji Reddy would not have been possible without Sagar providing vital clues to the sleuths. Apart from assuring Sagar that no harm will be done to him, they are culling out as much information as possible about Maoist leaders," a top police official involved in anti-naxal operations said.

Considered to be a close aide of top Maoist leader Ganapathi, Raji Reddy was involved in framing party strategies and counter-offensive tactics.

Younger brother of another top leader Mallojula Koteswara Rao, Raji Reddy was picked up by a special party police team of AP near Ernakulam around 7.30 pm on Sunday. Police sources said Raji Reddy was hiding among migrant labourers when he was arrested.

Not only was Raji Reddy carrying out important operations in the Dandakaranya region, he was involved in a number of attacks on police stations, looting of weapons, murders, abductions and landmine blasts in Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh.

He carries a reward of Rs 15 lakh on his head. Hailing from Shastrulapally village of Manthani mandal in Karimnagar district, Raji Reddy went underground in 1977.

Writer and Maoist ideologue Varavara Rao said though the government has assured that no harm will be done to Raji Reddy, he demanded that the veteran leader be produced before court immediately. Sources told TOI that intelligence sleuths would interrogate Raji Reddy before producing him in court.

Stoutly disputing that the Maoist movement will be weakened with the arrest of Raji Reddy, Varavara says: "Leaders may come and go. The same was said when central committee members Sande Rajamouli and Chandramouli were arrested and bumped off in fake encounters. The movement for land for poor will go on irrespective of leaders".

However, another top police officer said Raji Reddy's arrest is a major setback to the party as decision-making will be severely hampered at the top level. He said the latest arrest has come as a shot in the arm for police.

Times of India

Top leader's arrest a big blow to Maoist movement K. Srinivas Reddy

Malla Raji Reddy was in charge of the revolutionary movement in the south west regional bureau

Reddy was underground for over three decades

He was a member of the Maoist Central Committee

HYDERABAD: The Maoists made headlines with the jailbreak in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh on Sunday, but intelligence sleuths gave them a big jolt by ensnaring a top leader in Ernakulam district of Kerala just a day later.

The arrest of Malla Raji Reddy, alias Sattenna, a member of the Maoist Central Committee, in Angamaly town, is considered a big blow to the Maoist movement. Reddy hails from Karimnagar district of Andhra Pradesh and is in charge of the revolutionary movement in the south west regional bureau (SWRB), which includes Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat.

Reddy, who has been underground for over three decades, is one of the seniormost Maoist leaders and a contemporary of Maoist chief Ganapathy. He is now a member of the Polit Bureau and the Central Committee.

The arrest comes in the backdrop of a series of reverses the Maoists have faced in several States, notwithstanding their capabilities to inflict deadly blows on security forces in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Bihar.

If the Maoist writ runs in the Dandakaranya forest belt — from Gadchiroli in Maharashtra to Bastar in Chhattisgarh — law enforcement agencies are gaining the upper hand in other parts of the country.

Through coordinated, intelligence-driven operations, the police have arrested or killed senior leaders in the last two years. In Jharkhand, Misir Besra, a Central Committee Member (CCM) was arrested in September last.

This was preceded by the arrest of Krishnan Srinivasan, secretary of the Maharashtra Maoist wing, in Mumbai (August 2007); the killing of Sande Rajamouli, CCM, in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh (June 2007); the killing of Wadkapur Chandramouli, CCM, in Visakhapatnam (December, 2006); the arrest of Sheela Marandi, CCM and wife of Kishan Da, senior leader and CCM, in Jharkhand; the killing of Burra Chinnaiah, Andhra Pradesh committee secretary; and Matta Ravi Kumar, Andhra Pradesh committee member (July and June 2006).

In 2006, the Andhra Pradesh police arrested Narayan Sanyal, senior naxal leader, in Khammam. In 2005, another top leader Maimuddin alias Ravi, in charge of the north Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, was gunned down in East Champaran, Bihar, while two senior leaders Sudhil Roy and Patitpaban Haldar were arrested in west Midnapore, West Bengal.

Maoists active in Kerala?

Dennis Marcus Mathew reports from Alappuzha:

Malla Raji Reddy is the second Central Committee member to be apprehended here.

On June 22, Sande Rajamouli was reportedly arrested in Kollam, though the police deny this.Kerala Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan told the Assembly on September 19 that the State police had been directed to tighten vigil across the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border. This followed Tamil Nadu Maoist secretary Sundaramoorthy's reported police confession that he had lived in Nedumkandam and other areas of Idukki district for eight months.

However, Mr. Balakrishnan told The Hindu in Alappuzha on November 20 that the State was not facing any kind of naxalite threat.

According to sources, a meeting of the Maoist Central Committee, held between January 28 and 31, discussed in detail the organisation's activities in Kerala.

The SWRB resolutions in the meeting, sources said, contained details crucial to Kerala. More important, the directions to the Kerala committee were to continue focussing on the "Tamil Nadu perspective area," which possibly denotes the borders of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, particularly Wayanad, where there have been earlier reports of Naxalite activity.

The Hindu

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