But this does not mean that the PW had been completely marginalised. Such is the level of indoctrination among villagers, particularly the youth, that in Telangana hating the landlords and class enemies is virtually a religion for many. "I am happy about the attack but if it had been fully successful we would have been celebrating a real Dussehra," says Vaddepalli Srinu. An undergraduate student at a Warangal college, Srinu worked underground with the PW for three years till his arrest last June. He claims he will return to fight for the ‘revolution’. But not immediately, as he fears police retaliation on his family and because "most of the old networks have been destroyed".
The PW has recently suffered a string of reverses in its traditional northern Telangana stronghold, in the districts of Adilabad, Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Warangal and Khammam. Several leaders have been killed in ‘encounters’ and there has been a rash of high-profile surrenders. Telangana had once been dubbed a ‘liberated’ zone. But now liquor vends, which were too scared to operate before, are back in business.