This part of AP adjoins the worst affected districts of Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra and the Maoists once dominated it. The mood remains sympathetic to them.
It’s a debate that’s been raging within the Congress, and outside it. Should the government adopt a largely law-and-order attitude towards the Maoists and deal with them like criminals or should the focus be more on cutting the ground from under their feet through a development agenda that wins over the population of the affected areas?
Tied to this is the question of how the Maoists are viewed by the populace of these parts. Are they perceived essentially as a bloodthirsty, extortionist bunch or as rebels standing up for people’s rights?
TOI decided to do an opinion poll of the affected areas to find out. The problem, however, was that this was a region where pollsters found very difficult to enter. We finally decided to conduct the survey in those areas of Andhra Pradesh which were till not too long ago strongholds of the Naxalites but where their activities have been checked. The survey was conducted, therefore, in five districts of the Telangana region Adilabad, Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Warangal and Khammam. These districts were chosen not only because they were till recently severely Naxal-affected, but also because of their proximity to current hotbeds in Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra (see map)……
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Over half of those polled said the Naxalites worked for the good of the area, another one-third said they had the right intentions but the wrong means. Only 15% of the respondents were willing to describe the Maoists as just goondas.
Read Also: Maoists have edge in battle for mind & heart
Courtesy: The Times of India, http://epaper.timesofindia.com , September 28, 2010
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