Top Maoist Jampanna, alias Jinugu Narasimha Reddy, 57, who surrendered before the Telangana police this week, has provided vital inputs to the State and Central intelligence agencies on the inside functioning of his outlawed outfit in Dandakaranya forest areas that include Chhattisgarh, Odisha and North-Telangana borders.
He faces around 100 cases in several states in over 60 attacks on paramilitary forces and public properties in the last three decades, which must have claimed not less than 33 lives and injured hundred others. He carries a reward of Rs 25 lakh on his head in Telangana and his wife Anita alias Rajita, 37, carries a reward of Rs 5 lakh. Now the couple will get Rs 30 lakh in a cash and rehabilitation package.
Jampanna, who joined the ranks of CPI (ML) People’s War in 1984, was till recently one of the 18 central committee members of the Maoists and held three key responsibilities—he was the secretary of Odisha state committee, head of the central military commission that looks after armed attacks on paramilitary forces, and one of the four members of the central regional bureau that takes care of the party in Dandakaranya.
Narasimha Reddy, as he now prefers to be called, decided to surrender because of two reasons: first, he had differences of opinion with the Maoist leadership on the outdated ideas of armed struggle against the state; and second, becasue operating guerilla armed squads was proving to be difficult due to the tough conditions on the ground.
Narasimha Reddy, while talking to The Sunday Guardian from his village, Charlapalem in Mahabubabad district over phone, admitted that he had sent an alternative document on the party’s ideologies to the leadership. “I will reveal all details soon, once I am settled in my new life,” said he, who is yet to have a mobile phone for himself. He is using his relatives’ mobile phones.
The intelligence cops who specialise in counter-left wing extremism both at the Centre and at the State levels are on cloud nine, as they have, for the first time in many years, access to vital and authentic information on the ins and outs of the operation of the Maoists. The Special Intelligence Bureau cops have grilled Reddy several times and cops from the Centre are expected to follow suit.
Telangana DGP Mahender Reddy, before whom the Maoist couple surrendered on Monday, said that Narasimha Reddy’s surrender was a big victory for the police. “We welcome other Maoists to come out of their underground life and join the mainstream,” said the DGP.
Narasimha Reddy’s surrender is the outcome of meticulous planning done by the police over the last four to five months. After narrowly escaping an encounter in the forests of Andhra-Odisha borders in September 2017, Reddy sent feelers to a ruling TRS senior legislator from Warangal district that he wanted to give up his underground life.
That legislator, in turn, tipped the Warangal police on Jampanna’s plans to join the mainstream. A secret meeting between the cops and the Maoist leader was held at his forest hideout in November first week after which his surrender before the DGP was fixed. By then, the Maoist leader had informed his colleagues in the central committee of his plans to leave the party.
There is a rule in Maoist ranks that the senior leaders, if they want to leave the party, should maintain at least a couple of months of quarantine from their regular activities and leave behind all weapons and passwords etc. As Narasimha Reddy is a top leader of the Maoists, the police did not press for surrender of his weapons as is done when lower rung ultras surrender.
A section of the supporters of Maoists like Revolutionary Writers’ Association activist Vara Vara Rao suspected that ill-health could be a major reason for Narasimha Reddy’s surrender, but the latter told the police he was perfectly fine.
The police also view Narasimha Reddy’s surrender as an ideological victory as he, in his document sent to the leadership, pointed out the futility of continuing armed struggle in the backward areas of Chhattisgarh and Odisha, which are Maoist strongholds.
Narasimha Reddy in his document said that there was no point in fighting for land for the landless as there were no big landlords and that agriculture is no longer a source of sustenance to millions of toiling masses in the country. “Merely carrying out armed insurgency and resorting to destruction may no longer serve any purpose,” he told the party leadership, according to police officers who grilled him.
He told the cops that there was a section in the top leadership who concurred with his views on the changing conditions that call for a different strategy.
As Narasimha Reddy was the direct boss of the Maoist cadre in Chhattisgarh and Odisha and was privy to a number of armed attacks on the police and paramilitary forces in these states in recent years, the intelligence officials from these two states also would meet him soon. He was considered to be close to Maoists central committee secretary Ganapathi alias Muppala Lakshman Rao till some time ago.
However, there was a gap between them ever since Narasimha Reddy veered to toning down armed activities. According to the police, Ganapathi mostly sided with hardliners in the central committee and turned down any suggestions to give up armed struggle for softer approach.