Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Major setback to Maoists in state

TNN, Mar 13, 2010, 04.43am IST

HYDERABAD: The Maoists were dealt a major body blow when one of their topmost leaders Sakhamuri Apparao and party state technical committee in-charge Solipeta Kondal Reddy were killed in separate encounters in the early hours of Friday. Apparao carried a reward of Rs 10 lakh on his head and was the brain behind the attack on then AP chief minister Chandrababu Naidu at Alipiri on the ghat road to Tirumala shrine in 2003. Naidu was injured in the incident.

While party Central Committee leader and former chief of the military commission in Nallamala forests Apparao alias Ravi alias Venkanna, 50, was killed in an alleged exchange of fire near Nettikonda forests in Pullalacheruvu mandal in Prakasam district, Kondal Reddy alias Tech Ramana alias Srikanth, 47, was gunned down in Bandala Kodishala forest in Tadwai mandal of Warangal district.

According to stories doing the rounds, cops picked up Kondal Reddy from Maharashtra last week and trapped Apparao near Tirupati based on the clues provided by the former. Police were said to have picked up three other Maoists. However, a source averred, “All the five were picked up in Pune where they were holding a party meeting. They were brought to AP and the two top leaders died later in separate encounters.”

Apparao, a native of Khanapur mandal in Warangal district, had been eluding police for the last 10 years ever since he was released from Cherlapalli jail on parole in 2000. Apparao, who spent nearly seven years in jail after his arrest from a hotel in Chennai in 1993, rejoined the movement immediately after his release.

Apparao, popularly known as Sakhamuri in police circles, was accused in the killing of IPS officers K S Vyas and Umesh Chandra and former AP home minister A Madhav Reddy. He had also planned to eliminate former CM N Janardhan Reddy in Nellore.

An AK-47 and some bullets were recovered from the encounter site on a small hillock at Isullapayapenta village. SP Navin Chand — who incidentally was suspended in 2003 for failing to prevent the attack on Naidu —said the ‘exchange of fire’ lasted over 30 minutes. “We are combing the area to nab three other naxals who were with Apparao,” he said. Apparao went underground after completing his polytechnic course in Hyderabad in 1993. His wife Rajitha alias Vanaja was killed in an encounter along with another top gun Madhav in Nallamala forests in 2005.

Tech Ramana, a close relative of former TRS legislator Solipeta Ramachandra Reddy of Dubbaka in Medak district, was actively working to revive the armed struggle in the area, sources said. Ramana, who was also the South Telangana Zonal Committee secretary, was killed during an encounter in the forest area in Tadwai.

Three other rebels escaped from the scene. Police recovered one AK-47 and two kit bags from the encounter site.
Analysts said with the Centre’s Operation Green Hunt launched in parts of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, top Maoist leaders started to sneak into AP and Maharashtra. “The AP police want to send a clear message to the Maoists that they are not welcome here. The government will not allow revival of the movement here,” an analyst added.

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