Hyderabad: Telangana police will deal firmly against those assisting Maoists, state DGP M Mahendar Reddy said on Sunday. He also expressed the need to curb "urban naxalism".

"We strongly believe that in order to control underground cadre of Maoists it is needed to control urban naxalism. Telangana Police will firmly act against those found to be assisting Maoists," the top cop told reporters here at the annual press conference.

Reacting to a query on the arrest of poet and writer Varavara Rao from Hyderabad by Pune police for his alleged Maoist links in the Elgar Parishad case, Reddy said that incident had happened in Maharashtra. "Had there been a similar incident here we would have acted against them", he said.

Rao was one of the activists who was arrested in connection with the conclave held at historic Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31 last year. Police suspect that provocative speeches made by some delegates at the event led to violent caste clashes the next day around Koregaon Bhima village in the district.

Speaking on urban naxalism, Reddy said by "being within people and through democratic means" they assist Maoists by providing them logistics and in recruiting cadres behind the scene. "We will work effectively in dealing with them," he added.

The police chief also said that 120 extremists were arrested in Telangana so far during 2018. "During the current year, nine extremists were arrested in the inter-state joint operations," he said, adding that there are 126 UG cadres hailing from Telangana.

"Out of 17 central committee (CC) members in the CPI (Maoist), 10 members are from Telangana state," he said. The Telangana State Committee is operating with 82 UG cadres, out of which only 18 are from Telangana and rest are from Chhattisgarh, he said. "There were three incidents of exchange of fire with extremists of CPI (Maoist) and other groups in Telangana, resulting in the death of 19 extremists," he said.

With the information shared by the state Intelligence teams, there were 16 incidents of exchange of fire during inter-state anti-Naxalites operations in which 21 extremists were neutralised, he said, adding that ten CPI (M) extremists holding different ranks also surrendered. (PTI)

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