The surrender of Muttannagari Jalandhar Reddy alias Krishna, a senior member of the CPI (Maoist) Andhra-Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee (AOBSZC), is a big blow to the Maoist movement in the border region.
The Maoist leader who had a bounty of about ₹20 lakh on his head, was said to be a trained military strategist and had played a key role in many ambushes, including masterminding the Balimela ambush in 2008 that left 38 Greyhound commandos dead.
He was among the few committed leaders in the region with RSU (Radical Student Union) background and was very strong ideologically.
According to a senior police officer, he was regarded for his organising and leadership skills and had the potential to rise to the level of the Maoist Central Committee.
Most importantly, over the last few years, especially after the wiping out of the almost entire MKVB (Malkangiri-Koraput Visakhapatnam Border) division leadership in the 2016 Ramaguda encounter, he rose to prominence and was calling the shots in the AOB region along with Aruna.
As per sources in the intelligence units, with him gone, now the leadership of AOB rests with Aruna. Sources say that the secretary of AOBSZC Gajarla Ravi alias Uday is sick and insulin-dependant, and he and Central Committee Member Akkiraju Haragopal alias Ramakrishna alias RK, have been operating from Chhattisgarh for quite some time now.
It is said Krishna had good knowledge of the terrain and culture of the adivasis on both sides of the border – Galikonda region on the Andhra side and Gumma region in the cut-off area on the Odisha side.
In fact, as per a few seized documents, Krishna and Aruna were given the task to oversee the revival of the movement in the Galikonda region, where they were losing grip.
But, forced by the aggressive movement of security forces on both sides of the border, Krishna had made Gumma region his base to consolidate the cut-off region.
When the movement is already on the downslide, and Krishna himself claimed that recruitment had been drying out, his surrender is being considered as a big blow to the movement in the AOB region.