Maoist leaders RK, Chalapathi, others reportedly escape by a whisker
The exchange of fire (EoF) that took place between the joint combing team, comprising the personnel from AP Special Police (APSP) and the Special Operations Group (SOG) of Odisha, and the banned CPI (Maoist) on Saturday had many top Maoist leaders in the crosshairs. But, taking advantage of the darkness, the leaders gave the security forces the slip for the second time in a span of just one week.
On hot pursuit after the July 19 EoF near Kilamkota in Pedabayalu, and based on reliable information that senior Maoists leaders were organising a meeting near Digijanaba village in the limits of Annavaram Police Station in Chintapalli mandal of the Visakha Agency, the combing party embarked on a joint operation.
Upon reaching the spot near the village at around 6.30 p.m., the Maoists started firing at the combing party and the latter retaliated. The firing lasted for about 20 minutes and the Moists disappeared under the cover of darkness.
On Sunday, the police party found the body of Pangi Daya (25) of Vakapalli village in G. Madugula mandal at the site. He was the brother of Pangi Gasiram, who was killed in Ramaguda EoF in October 2016, in which over 30 Maoists were killed. Apart from recovering one 303 Lee-Enfield rifle, two kit bags, a walkie talkie set, large quantity of rifle ammunition and a 9 mm pistol from the EoF site, the police also seized a number of documents including a list of attendees.
It is learnt that the list of attendees included Akkiraju Haragopal alias Ramakrishna alias RK, who is a member of the party’s central committee, Chalpathi and his wife Aruna, the mastermind and prime accused in the killing of Araku MLA Kidari Sarveswara Rao and former MLA Siveri Soma in September 2018, Gajarla Ravi alias Uday secretary of AOBSZC, Sudheer, Ashok and Tech Shankar.
The presence of senior leaders has been confirmed by the recovery of a 9mm pistol and a walkie talkie set from the deceased, as only personal security guards of top leaders are assigned 9 mm pistols and walkie talkies, according to a senior police officer, engaged in the anti-Maoist operations in AOB.
Speaking to The Hindu, Chintapalli ASP Vidyasagar Naidu said that the body of the slain Maoist was brought to Narsipatnam for post-mortem examination on Monday and would be handed over to the claimants.
Visakhapatnam SP B. Krishna Rao said that high alert was sounded in the entire Agency area as the Maoist Martyrs week would begin from Tuesday.
Security was beefed up at all vital installations. High-tech drones would be used for surveillance in the remote areas, said DIG L.K.V. Ranga Rao. “We also appeal to the tribal people not to fall for the outdated Maoist ideology, as the top leaders are using them as human shields,” said Mr. Vidyasagar.
“We will welcome those who give up the movement and also assist them in joining the mainstream and extend medical assistance to any injured Maoist,” he said.
Meanwhile, speculations are rife that in the July 19 exchange of fire, a senior leader was injured