08 May, 2021

The Forest Is Alive Behind The Firebreak

There’s a new Maoist general secretary, but guerrilla bases have shrunk, recruitment dried up. Will the change of guard affect the security forces?

One Advice
Don’t fall into an ambush, the top killer of security forces in Maoist insurgency areas
Photograph by Tribhuvan Tiwari
The Forest Is Alive Behind The Firebreak

The proscribed CPI (Maoist) has now a new general secretary, Namballa Kesava Rao alias Basvaraju alias Gaganna, who was the central military commission (CMC) chief till recently. He replaced Mupalla Laxman Rao alias Ganapathy, the general secretary for about 25 years, who reportedly chose to retire voluntarily due to failing health and old age. The leadership change has brought to the fore an important question: will the organisation become more aggressive and ferocious now?

Till recently, Kesava Rao, as in-charge of the CMC, not only commanded all major offensives against security forces but was also responsible for various developments in the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA). In fact, the strength of the PLGA in Dandkarnaya increased sharply in order to crush the Salva Judum (Peace March) that rose spontaneously in May-June 2005 (against the Maoists as a challenge) in Chhattisgarh. The strength of the PLGA though continued to increase till 2010-12; it couldn’t keep pace with the simultaneous  advancements made by the security forces....

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