HYDERABAD: After commencing sustained efforts to revive the naxalite movement in Andhra Pradesh, Maoists have now begun focussing on building a movement for the welfare of prisoners in the State.
The latest decision to organise a movement against the delay on part of the Government to release prisoners on good conduct on national days comes in the backdrop of a resolution passed by the Maoist party at its ninth congress meeting held in Bheembandh forests of Bihar in January last year.
Following the congress resolution on “Prisoners’ Struggles”, the Maoist party had organised one of the biggest jail breaks, when it’s fighting force, the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) and the People’s Militia carried out a surprise raid on the district jail in Dantewada of Chhattisgarh on December 16, 2007.
The Maoist raid led to the escape of 299 prisoners including 110 Maoists from the jail. The Dantewada jail break had indicated the resolve of the Maoists to get their jailed cadres released in consonance with the decision of the party to “carry out every possible means to free our comrades from the jails,” as enunciated in the resolution.
Though the Maoist movement is not strong in Andhra Pradesh, as it is in the Bastar forests, the party has been sparing no effort to revive the movement here.
In this backdrop, the North Telangana Special Zonal Committee (NTSZC) secretary, Chandranna, and the Godavari Valley regional committee secretary of Janashakti, Bharat, issued a joint statement condemning the “inordinate delay” in releasing the prisoners of good conduct in State jails.
Incidentally, the jailed Maoist cadres also issued a statement condemning the delay in the release of prisoners. The jailed comrades announced that the Maoist and the general prisoners had launched a hunger strike in Warangal jail from January 26.
The Maoist prisoners called upon other prisoners to join their agitation to force the government to release those who had been certified as having good conduct.
The release of prisoners has been hanging fire ever since a public interest litigation was filed in the Supreme Court alleging that the ruling Congress was trying to release some of its convicted leaders under the fig leaf of ‘good conduct’.
Controversy surrounded the reported move by the ruling Congress to release Gouru Venkat Reddy, husband of Gouru Charita Reddy, a ruling party legislator from Kurnool district.
The Maoist party has decided to form action committees (‘Jail Bandi Sanghursh Samiti’) to fight for the rights of prisoners.
One of the main demands is to force the authorities to keep all Maoist prisoners in one barrack.
The resolution says that “such action committees are quite helpful in further enhancement of the spirit of unity and sacrifice, and in identifying vacillators and coverts.”
Clearly the Maoist party is worried about the security forces winning over the jailed naxalites and using the information ferreted out to launch counter-strikes.