The Andhra Pradesh government on Wednesday evening re-imposed a ban on the Maoists, in the wake of a spurt in naxalite violence that has claimed 254 lives in the state since January 2005.
After day-long deliberations, the government issued the orders outlawing the Communist Party of India-Maoist and its frontal organisations under the Andhra Pradesh Public Security Act 1992. Chief Minister Dr Y S Rajasekhar Reddy signed the file for the clamping of the ban, sources in the Chief Minister’s Office said.
The immediate cause for re-imposition of the ban on the Maoists is the outrageous killing of Congress legislator Chittem Narsi Reddy and eight others by an action team of Maoists at Narayanpet in Mahbubnagar district on Independence Day. The state cabinet, at its meeting on Tuesday, had authorised the chief minister to take a final decision on the issue of fresh ban.
It is after a gap of 13 months that the ban on the naxalite outfit has been clamped. As a confidence-building measure to create a conducive atmosphere for the peace dialogue with the naxalites, the Congress government had allowed the ban on the People’s War Group and its frontal organisations to lapse on July 22, 2004.
Since the Communist Party of India-Marxist Leninist People’s War and Maoist Communist Centre-India merged in September 2004 to form the Communist Party of India-Maoist, the state government has banned the new organisation and its frontal organisations this time.
Chief Secretary Mohan Kanda, Advocate-General Mohan Reddy, Director-General of Police Swaranjit Sen, principal secretaries, Home, Law Department officials and other senior police officers held consultations before finalising the draft for outlawing CPI-M. The go ahead was issued after Home Minister K Jana Reddy and the chief minister cleared it.
Incidentally, it is the third time that the ban has been imposed. For the first time, the then Congress government had outlawed the People’s War Group and its frontal organisations on May 21, 1992, observed as anti-terrorism day on the first death anniversary of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. This followed the killing of a former minister T Hayagreeva Chary, who was a close aide of former prime minister P V Narasimha Rao.
In 1995, the then Telugu Desam government led by N T Rama Rao had relaxed the ban on the People’s War and sister outfits to fulfil the promise in this regard on the eve of 2004 assembly polls. However, the ban was re-imposed by the Chandrababu Naidu regime in July 1996 when the government had effected simultaneous hikes in the sales tax, state excise, subsidised rice price and the bus fares and power tariffs.
The ban was intended to prevent the naxalites from launching an agitation against these hikes. Subsequently, the TDP government renewed the ban on the People’s War and frontal outfits every year.
Once again, on the eve of 2004 assembly polls, the Congress promised to initiate a peace dialogue with the naxalites to find a lasting solution.
The ban was not renewed to facilitate the dialogue, but the peace talks broke down after the first round in October 2004. Since January 2005, both sides resumed their confrontation, resulting in death of 254 persons, including 108 naxalites in encounters with police and killings of 16 policemen and 130 civilians and political activists by the Maoists.
By Syed Amin Jafri