Warangal (Andhra Pradesh), May 20 : Two Praja Pratighatana Naxalites were killed in an encounter with police at Kodishala village in Andhra Pradesh's Warangal District on Tuesday.
Acting on a tip off, a special police party reached the village and asked the extremists to surrender. The Naxalites, however chose to fire on the police party, and in the retaliation that followed, both were killed. Two others escaped.
Police have seized 11 kit bags and six weapons after the encounter.
Latest statistics available with the Union Home Ministry show that incidents of Maoist violence came down slightly in 2006 when compared to the figures for 2005. Till August 2006, 1,013 incidents were reported -- less than the 1,171 incidents during the same period in 2005, sources in the ministry said.
Though left wing extremism in India owes its name to Naxalbari in West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh is regarded as the red cradle that nurtured the movement and serves as the guerrilla movement's main base.
The Naxal movement in Andhra Pradesh started in the late sixties in the 'Agency Area' (tribal-inhabited forests) of the Srikakulam district.
It was only after the formation of the Peoples' War Group (PWG), by K. Seetharamaiah on April 22, 1980, that Andhra Pradesh became the Maoist hub of India. The state entered yet another phase of armed rebellion with the merger of the PWG and MCC to form the Communist Party of India (Maoist) in 2004.
Nineteen of the state's 23 districts have been declared as Naxal-infested areas. The organizational structure of the CPI (Maoist) includes six military platoons, 28 area committees, 66 local guerrilla squads, and 16 action teams.
Along with the CPI (Maoist) State Committee there are three Special Zonal Committees covering the strategic areas around the Godavari River, North Telangana, Dandakaranya and Andhra-Orissa Border.
Naxal violence in Andhra Pradesh has claimed over 6,000 lives in the 28 years. The bloodiest year was 2005 with about 320 deaths being confirmed.
To explain this sharp escalation of violence one needs to go back to the unfortunate happenings of 2004. The much hyped cease-fire, peace process and talks during the year, which only served to expose the government's lack of preparedness in countering extremist violence.
Successive governments in Andhra Pradesh have used Naxalism as a poll plank. An undeclared pattern has emerged where the incumbent government starts with passionate slogans to seek a peaceful and political resolution, but move on to use force swiftly. The current Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy came to power with slogans of economic development. But the ground situation today reveals that counter-naxal measures are related to police measures rather than economic development.