India: Sustained Dominance In Telangana – Analysis


By Deepak Kumar Nayak

On February 27, 2024, Naini Komaraiah alias Komaranna (62), a cadre of the Ashok Dal faction of the Communist Party of India-Marxist-Leninist-New Democracy (CPI-ML-New Democracy-Ashok Dal), was arrested in the Yellandu Mandal (administrative division) of Bhadradri Kothagudem District. 

On February 25, 2024, Chhattisgarh Police arrested four suspected cadres of the CPI-Maoist and seized some weapons in Julurupadu Mandal in the Bhadradri Kothagudem District. The Police identified the arrested Maoists as migrant labourers (names not disclosed) from Chhattisgarh, who had come to harvest chillies in Anantaram village under the Julurupadu Mandal. 

On February 16, 2024, Police arrested five cadres of the Pedda Chandranna faction of the CPI-ML-New Democracy (CPI-ML-New Democracy-Pedda Chandranna) in the forests near Pusapalli village in the Yellandu Mandal of Bhadradri Kothagudem District. The arrested cadres were identified as Kurasam Vanjaiah aka Ashok, CPI-ML-New Democracy-Pedda Chandranna’s ‘state committee secretary’; Danasari Sammaiah aka Gopi, ‘state committee’ member; and armed ‘commanders’ S. Muthaiah aka Pullanna, Shaik Madar Saheb and Kalakonda Suresh. Police seized a pistol, 16 live .303 rounds, five gelatin sticks, 10 detonators, kit bags and revolutionary literature from them. 

According to partial data collated by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), at least 17 Naxalites (Left Wing Extremists) have already been arrested in the current year (data till March 3, 2024). 69 Naxalites were arrested in 2023, in Telangana, in addition to 41 arrests in 2022. In total, 505 Naxalites have been arrested since June 2, 2014, when the State was formed after the division of Andhra Pradesh. 

SFs eliminated two Naxalites in 2023, in addition to three in 2022. A total of 51 Naxalites has been killed since June 2, 2014. No Naxalite fatality has yet been reported in the current year. 

Mounting Security Forces (SFs) pressure led to the surrender of two Naxalites in the Mulugu District on February 1, 2024, the lone incident of surrender in the current year (data till March 3, 2024). At least nine Naxalites surrendered through 2023 in eight incidents, in addition to 24 in 10 incidents in 2022. A total of 302 Naxalites has surrendered in 99 incidents since June 2, 2014.

SFs have not suffered a single loss in the State since its formation. 

The State has recorded 12 civilian fatalities since June 2, 2014, the last of these reported on November 9, 2022, when a tribal man, Subaka Gopal (55) of Kondapur village in Venkatapuram Mandal of Mulugu District, was killed by CPI-Maoist cadres, who branded him a ‘police informer.’ 

Geographically, Left-Wing Extremism (LWE)-linked fatalities in 2023 were reported from Bhadradri Kothagudem (two Maoists). In 2022, fatalities were reported from Mulugu (one civilian and three Maoists) and Bhadradri Kothagudem (two Maoists). Since the formation of the state, of the total of 51 LWE-linked fatalities, 28 were reported from Bhadradri Kothagudem District (five civilians and 23 Naxalites), 10 from Mulugu District (two civilians and 10 Naxalites), five from Khammam District (four civilians and one Naxalite), two from Komaram Bheem Asifabad District (both Naxalites), two from Warangal-Rural (both Naxalites), one each from Adilabad District (civilian), Hyderabad District (Naxalite), Nalgonda District (Naxalite), and Warangal-Urban (Naxalite).

Meanwhile, the Maoists failed to carry out any incident of arson in 2023, as against one such incident recorded in 2022. The Maoists also did not issue any bandh (shut down strike) call in 2023, as against one such call in 2022. Moreover, overall Maoist-linked incidents fell to 39 in 2023 from 44 in 2022. 

SFs foiled Maoist designs and recovered arms and ammunition on 17 occasions in 2023, in addition to 13 such incidents in 2022. The total number of recoveries since June 2, 2014, stands at 136. In the current year, three incidents of arms recovery have already been recorded in the state, so far (data till March 3, 2024). 

According to the SATP database, based on underground and over-ground activities of the Maoists in 2023, one District (Bhadradri Kothagudem) was categorised as moderately affected; while seven (Hyderabad, Jayashankar Bhupalpally, Karimnagar, Kumuram Bheem, Mancherial, Mulugu and Warangal Urban), were marginally affected. By comparison, in 2022, two Districts (Bhadradri Kothagudem and Mulugu) were categorised as moderately affected; while four (Jayashankar Bhupalpally, Karimnagar, Khammam and Nizamabad), were marginally affected. 

According to a December 8, 2023, report, the Ramagundam Police claimed to have thwarted an attempt by the CPI-Maoist to restore its hold in Telangana’s coal belt, by arresting an accused, P. Avinash (29), while he was moving suspiciously in the Ramagundam Area General Manager’s Office in Godavarikhani. Ramagundam Police Commissioner Rema Rajeshwari said Avinash, a B.Sc. (Nursing) graduate, used to run his family printing press in his native village. He came in contact with some members of Maoist front organisations and was attracted to the CPI-Maoist ideology a few years ago. He had been sent to Godavarikhani to revive SIKASA [the CPI-Maoist-affiliated Singareni Karmika Samakhya] activities in the coal town on the instructions of Maoist leaders. 

More recently, a report dated February 6, 2024, noted that, to make their presence felt and to win the support of the public, Venkatesh, ‘secretary’ of the ‘Jayashankar, Mulugu, Warangal, and Peddapally (JMWP) Division Committee’ of the CPI-Maoist, released a letter demanding that the state government make arrangements in full accordance with Adivasi (tribal) customs for the Sammakka Saralamma Jathara (festival honouring the Goddesses Sammakka and Saralamma, celebrated in Telangana) scheduled from February 21 to 24 at Medaram village in Mulugu District. In the letter, the Maoists warned against distributing anything (like laddu or pulihora) other than jaggery, to devotees as prasadam at Medaram village. They also demanded that the government implement special measures, such as ensuring cleanliness standards, maintaining hygiene, and compensating farmers who left their crops to conduct the festival immediately. They added that such compensations should be distributed immediately after the end of the festival. 

Regrettably, some areas of neglect remain at the policy level, even as the battle against the Maoists in Telangana continues. At least 19,886 Police posts were vacant in the State as on January 1, 2022, against a sanctioned strength of 82,617 – a deficit of 24.07 per cent – according to the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D). The police-population ratio (Policemen per hundred thousand population) in the State was 165.88 per 100,000, lower than the sanctioned strength of 218.47, which itself is marginally lower than 220 Policemen per 100,000 population, the benchmark for ‘peacetime policing’. Moreover, against the sanctioned strength of the apex Indian Police Service (IPS) Officers in the State at 139, just 122 were in position. Two of 843 Police Stations in the State were without a telephone connection.

In order to assist the State Police, 21 Companies of Central Armed Police Forces [Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), etc.] have been deployed in Telangana.

The Telangana Police has undeniably done extraordinarily well in countering the Maoist threat. Nevertheless, existing gaps in capacities and deployment in the State need urgent attention to ensure that the Maoists are not able to regroup and reestablish their influence in areas of their erstwhile dominance in the State.

  • Deepak Kumar Nayak
    Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management


SATP, or the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP) publishes the South Asia Intelligence Review, and is a product of The Institute for Conflict Management, a non-Profit Society set up in 1997 in New Delhi, and which is committed to the continuous evaluation and resolution of problems of internal security in South Asia. The Institute was set up on the initiative of, and is presently headed by, its President, Mr. K.P.S. Gill, IPS (Retd).

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