Srikakulam Uprising (1967-1970)

Srikakulam Peasant Movement took place from 1967 to 1970 in the Srikakulam district of Andra Pradesh, India. The Naxalbari Movement during the 1960s inspired the Srikakulam uprising.

Historical Background

Telangana Movement of 1946-51 left a deep impression on the communist movement going on in India. Since the early 1950s, the communists had gained a prominent mass base in the tribal regions of Srikakulam under the leadership of two school leaders, Adibhatla Kailasam and Vempatapu Satyanarayana. The songs and verses of poet Subbarao Panigrahi also had significant involvement.

With the deepening debate and crisis within the main communist parties and the subsequent upheaval of Naxalbari, the leadership aligned themselves with the newly formed All India Coordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries in 1967, which later transformed into the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist).

Course of Uprising

On 31 October 1967, the landlords killed two persons associated with communists, Koranna and Manganna, while the two were going to attend Girijan Samagam Conference. In retaliation, the Girijans started retaliating by seizing land, food grains, and property from the landlords. These activities spread in different villages, paralysing the local police for six months until the Government sent additional police forces.

The tribals began facing severe offensive. The leadership started organising the mass upheaval into an organised movement by forming peasant guerrilla squads and more systemic resistance.

On 25 November 1968, 250 tribal peasants raided a landlord’s house, snatching hoards of food grains, taking possession of belongings worth 20000 rupees and burnt several documents.

On 20 November 1968, at Belereguda village, guerrilla squads of 500 tribal peasants launched a surprise attack on 500 police officers, inflicting severe damage.


By 1969, the activities of peasant squads rose along with their increasing actions. The Government sent a police force of 12000 to tackle the uprising. Serious warfare continued for six months. The conflict zone was spread throughout the regions of the upper Aviri area, Bothilli Hills, Vegulavada, Sanjuvai, and Ithamanugadda in Srikakulam.

By January 1970, several police persons (around 120) were killed. But, the uprising soon met a rapid decline. Their uprising faced severe losses due to the casualties inflicted on the leadership. Youth leader Tamada Ganapathy, Panchadi Krishnamurthy from Boddapadu, Dr Chaganti Bhaskar Rao from Parchoor (Prakasam district), Subbarao Panigrahi and six others killed by Andhra police between 10 May 1969 and 3 November 1969. By 10 July 1970, Vempatapu Satyanaraya, Adibhatla Kailasam and others like Panchadi Nirmala were also killed and the uprising soon disseminated.

The reminiscences of the Srikakulam uprising still have some influence on the Naxalite-Maosit insurgency and the splintered Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) factions that exist today.

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