At least 24 members of the banned CPI (Maoist), including two top leaders and seven women, were killed by the armed forces along the Andhra Pradesh-Odisha border on Monday. Security forces claimed that the insurgents were killed in an encounter.
According to the security forces, the maoists were shot down in an alleged fire exchange between the insurgents and a combined team of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha police near Jantri in Odisha’s Malkangiri district, a few kilometers away from the border with AP.
A joint team of the Greyhounds of AP and Odisha police attacked the Maoist camp, where more than 50 Maoists had reportedly gathered to attend an important meet, Deputy Inspector General of Police, S. Shyni IPS told SouthLive
While the deceased are yet to be identified, it is suspected that secretary of the Andhra-Odisha border special zonal committee, Gajarla Ravi , secretary of the East division Chalapathi alias Appa Rao, his wife, deputy commander of the Koraput-Srikakulam Division, Aruna and another leader Bakuri Venkata Ramana Murthy, were killed in the alleged encounter.
Ravi and Chalapati had ₹ 20 Lakh reward on their heads, while Aruna carried a reward of ₹ 5 lakh.
However, the Maoist top leader G Ramakrishna alias RK, who was believed to be present at the camp, has reportedly escaped, but his son and an young Maoist leader Munna is suspected to be killed.
A few top leaders of the Maoist party might be among the dead, but it would take some time to confirm the sameRahul Dev Sharma, Superintendent of Police
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 alleged encounter.
They further claimed that, with this encounter, the last citadel of the Maoists on the Andhra-Odisha border may have been removed.
Meanwhile, revolutionary writer and activist P Varavara Rao called it fake encounter and demanded a judicial inquiry.
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 probeVaravara Rao
This is the second major encounter and the biggest in Malkangiri district of Odisha and one of the major incidents in the Andhra-Odisha border area. Thirteen Maoists were killed in an encounter with the police in September 2013 in Podia block in Malkangiri district.
The CPI (Maoist) has so far not responded to the incident. There have been allegations from different human right and civil society groups that the security forces resort to extra-constitutional methods to kill the insurgents. Last day CBI has found that the more than 160 houses in Chhattisgarh were torched by the security forces themselves. In 2011 the government and the police alleged that the houses were set on fire by the Maoists.