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Attack on Naidu points to larger menace

By George Iype in Kochi
Last updated on: October 02, 2003 14:16 IST
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The blast that nearly killed Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu points to the increasing terrorist activities of some two-dozen naxal outfits active not just in Andhra Pradesh, but eight other states.

According to the Union home ministry's annual report, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh are the worst affected; Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal are partially affected.

It says Left-wing groups continue to perpetuate the second largest number of violent incidents and killings in India -- the first being the thousands of innocents and security personnel being killed by militants in Jammu and Kashmir.

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Home ministry records say that in the last one decade, the central government has released nearly Rs90 crores to various states to curb the naxal menace. However, these groups are yet to be crushed.

According to the records, in the last 12 months groups like the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), People's War and Maoist Communist Centre have killed around 600 people in various states.

In the same time-span, the records say, these groups were involved in some 1,730 cases of violent incidents.

"The Left-wing extremist groups have been making concerted efforts to militarise their cadres through formation of special guerrilla squads and extend their activities over larger areas of the country," the annual report says.

Last year, the Centre set up a committee headed by the Union home secretary to coordinate with various states to end the activities of these groups. Directors general of police and chief secretaries of the affected states were members of the committee.

The committee's findings say that the groups are restructuring to establish domination in north coastal, south coastal and the Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh; southern parts of Orissa, Jharkhand and north Bihar; and coastal areas of West Bengal and Orissa.

The panel also says that the CPI (M-L), PW and MCC have established links with the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), which has been unleashing violence in the Himalayan Kingdom.

Officials say the districts bordering the Indo-Nepal border have also become very vulnerable because of the continuing violence in Nepal.

In fact, reports say that the CPI (M-L), PW and MCC have tied up with the Maoist insurgents in Nepal to carve out what they call a Compact Revolutionary Zone, which includes Bihar and Andhra Pradesh.

In the wake of the attack on Naidu, the Andhra Pradesh government is likely to ask for more central funds and assistance to fight the extremist groups.

Kondapalli Seetharamaiah formed the PW, the main naxal outfit in AP, in the 1980s. According to the AP police, the PW has some 7,000 underground militants who are experts in handling AK-47 rifles and landmines.

The state government these days gives round-the-clock security to some 800 people, including members of Parliament, legislators, local panchayat chiefs and even landlords to protect them from the PW.

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George Iype in Kochi