Security forces have gunned down at least 21 CPI-Maoist members including two top leaders and 7 women in an encounter in the border areas of Andhra-Odisha borders on Monday early hours. Two constables have also suffered bullet injuries in the encounter.
According to senior police officials Maoist central committee members managed to escape. Police have so far recovered 21 bodies and trying to identify the killed. Senior officials suspect one of the killed is Gajarla Ravi, secretary of Andhra-Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee, Appa Rao, Aruna and Bakuri Venata Ramana Murthy.
“The bodies are being brought to Malkhangiri district headquarters where postmortem will be performed,” said MitraBhanu Mohapatra, Malkhangiri SP.
Some senior officials believe in the encounter believe the entire company led by Maoist leader Gajarla Ravi alias Uday alias Ganesh has been wiped out in the encounter along with him. However his body is yet to be identified.
Security forces managed to identify Chalapathi and his wife Aruna as they had a recent photograph of the Maoist couple recovered a few month earlier from slain Maoist leader Azad’s laptop.
A senior police official told the media that they had inputs of the meeting has been called by senior Maoist leaders in Bejingi village in Malkangiri district. A special encounter team including Andhra Pradesh’s Greyhound and Odisha’s special force were given the task to neutralize and cause maximum damage to the camping Maoists.
CPI-Maoists rebels opened fire as the security forces while the team was marching towards the village. In retaliatory security forces opened fire are the rebels which let to killing of 21 Maoist rebels.
Security forces have recovered several automatic and semi-automatic weapons including AK-47, INSAS and several rounds of ammunition from the encounter site.
However, several Human Right groups have termed the encounter to be fake. Some claim the Maoist rebels were killed after they surrendered.
Officials said that they suspect the entire `dalam’ led by Maoist leader Gajarla Ravi alias Uday alias Ganesh has been wiped out in the encounter along with him. However, none of the bodies have been identified so far.Gajarla Ravi hails from Velishala village of Warangal district in Telangana. He is the youngest of three brothers all of whom joined the Maoist movements in the late 80s. His elder brother Gajarla Ashok surrendered several years ago due to ill health and now drives and autorickshaw in Warangal. His other brother Gajarla Saraya alias Azad was shot dead in an encounter with police seven years ago.
Venkataramana hails from Hakimpeta mandal of Vizag districts in Andhra Pradesh.It is suspected that top Maoist leader G Ramakrishna alias RK was also present at the meeting but managed to escape with other top leaders. Officials said that three AK 47 rifles, four SLRs, one INSAS, one 303, one SBML, two kit bags, one laptop and and Rs 2.16 lakhs cash and several small arms and ammunition has been recovered from site of the encounter.
“The AK 47s indicate that some top leaders were present at the site. Normally, only top Maoist leaders carry AKs. We suspect that one of the leaders killed is Gajarla Ravi,’’’ said Vizag Rural SP Rahul Sarma.
The bodies are likely to be taken to Koraput for postmortem.Today’s is the biggest and second major encounter in Malkangiri disitrict. In September 2013, 13 Maoists were killed in an encounter with Odisha Police in Podia block of Malkangiri district.
Meanwhile, revolutionary writer P Varavara Rao called it fake encounter and demanded a probe. “Cops surrounded a Maoist meeting and shot them in cold blood and terming it as an encounter. After the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, the influence of Maoists has come down and they have not launched any major attacks. So what was the reason for such drastic action against them? This encounter case should be registered as a murder case. A sitting HC judge should conduct the probe,” Rao said.