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Andhra replaces Bengal as Red hub

Andhra replaces Bengal as Red hub

Publication: The Times of India
Date: February 18, 2008

Introduction: Captured Ultra Spills The Beans On Outfit's Leadership, Organization

The Maoists may be striking with increasing impunity in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar and Orissa but the party's top command is dominated by leaders from Andhra Pradesh, with half its politburo (PB) members coming from the state and as many as four of them from the outfit's old bastion, Karimnagar district.

Identified as the single most important internal security threat by PM Manmohan Singh, the Red leadership has been a shadowy entity for security forces. Not much was known of the underground leadership that directs its cadres to commit violence in 13 states and has links with associates in Nepal.

Investigators got a break when top ultra Misir Besra fell into their hands. His interrogation revealed not only details of the Maoist command structure, but also audacious plans to target big cities like Delhi and Mumbai. Besra also indicated that more attacks like the one at Nayagarh in Orissa were in the pipeline.

Besra, who was arrested in a joint operation of the Jharkhand police and the CRPF, revealed that the Maoists had set up an "urban combat team'' to target big cities like Mumbai, Delhi and states adjoining the capital like Haryana and Punjab.

He also disclosed that the CPI (Maoist) has a budget of Rs 60 crore to carry out its armed struggle in 2007-09. While Rs 42 crore is earmarked for weaponry, Rs 2 crore is for intelligence gathering. The remaining is allocated for transportation, computer training, propaganda and documentation.

Though the Naxals have, of late, taken a beating in AP, their leadership remains firmly in the grip of comrades from the state. Seven PB members are from AP, with four-including party general secretary Muppala Lakshman Rao alias Ganapathi-coming from Karimnagar.

Besra's revelations are significant in view of Friday's attacks as he had specifically spoken of police stations being on the Naxal hitlist, along with individuals, politicians and officers in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. The Nayagarh attack points to the authenticity of Besra's "product''. If his comrades knew of his arrest, the determination to go ahead with the attack speaks volumes of the confidence and gumption of the ultras.

The secretive ways of the Naxal leadership and its success in avoiding identification despite on-off peace talks had put sleuths at a disadvantage. But now, agencies have an exact idea of the command structure headed by a PB comprising 14 permanent members and six "alternate'' members. While Ganapathi is party general secretary, the permanent members include Mallojula K Rao, Cherukuri Raja Kumkar, Prashanth Bose, Nambala Keshavarao, Pramod Mishra, Sumanand Singh, Katakam Sudershan, Akhilesh Yadav and Balraj. Each has a responsibility with respect to 'military' operations, intelligence, propaganda, training, documentation, budget and procurement of arms and ammunition. TNN

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