Why are senior Maoists planning to surrender one after another? This question has gained salience in the wake of the reports that at least two topguns of the Maoist movement are planning to shun the gun. Former Maoist top gun Muppalla Lakshman Rao aka Ganapathi and Central Committee member Mallojula Venugopal alias Bhupathi are reportedly planning to surrender to the police.
Both the leaders are said to have approached the Telangana police through their acquaintances. Ganapathi was the Numero Uno of the Maoist movement till he was replaced by Namballa Keshava Rao in 2018. Since then, he is reported to have gone to Philippines via Nepal. The reasons for this mysterious visit are not known. Similarly, another key leader Bhupati too is said to have approached the Telangana police to negotiate the terms of surrender.
Both the leaders are in their late 60s and their mobility has been impaired by chronic illnesses. This has made their visits scarcer. As a result, they have handed over the reins to their juniors and are planning to join the normal life. There are questions about where they would live after their retirement. There is palpable enthusiasm among the people in former Karimnagar district amid reports that Ganapathi would stay there.
Sources say that several more Maoist leaders, who are past their prime, are now planning to retire. This would signal a generational shift in the Maoist hierarchy. Younger leaders seem to be taking over the baton from the older leaders, who are plagued by fatigue and health-related issues. Most people are said to be preferring to surrender in Telangana, which has a better rehabilitation policy and no vendetta at all. The Maoists feel that Chhattisgarh government may be vindictive towards them in view of the loss of lives due to terror activities.