Maharashtra Police announces bounty up to Rs 60 lakhs on most wanted CPI (Maoist) members: A look at top Naxal leaders
The Maharashtra Police recently released an advertisement announcing a bounty on five most-wanted members of CPI (Maoist), including top leaders such as Malojulla Venugopal, Sahyadri Teltumbde and Narmadakka
The Maharashtra Police has announced bounty up to Rs 60 lakhs on five most-wanted members of the banned organisation CPI (Maoist), including its top leaders Malojulla Venugopal, Sahyadri Teltumbde, and Narmadakka.
The police released an advertisement with printed photographs of the five Maoist leaders wanted for various criminal offences and said that those with information about them can approach the superintendent of police in Gadchiroli, Maharashtra.
The move comes after a team of C-60 commandos, a specialised combat unit of the Gadchiroli police and CRPF personnel, killed 16 Naxals in an encounter with the police on 22 April. It was touted as the biggest success ever in the Dandakaranya area by any anti-Naxal force.
Here is a brief profile of the five most-wanted Maoists:
With a Rs 60 lakh cash award on his head, Malojulla Venugopal is the most wanted Maoist leader by the Maharashtra Police. This CPI (Maoist) politburo member leads Maoist activities in south India and hails from Peddapalli in Karimnagar district in Andhra Pradesh. His numerous aliases include Bhupathi, Sonu, Vivek, Laxminarayan and Lachhana Abhay.
His older brother Mallojula Koteshwara Rao alias Kishenji, the former number three Maoist, was killed by CRPF personnel in West Bengal on 24 November, 2011. Following this, the then-51-year-old Venugopal, replaced Kishenji in the highest decision making body of the CPI (Maoist), according to an India Today report. His mother, Madhuramma, wife of a deceased freedom fighter, had told India Today she may not live to see her son. "This is war," she said, "They kill the police... the police kill them."
Venugopal is the head of the Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee of the CPI (Maoist). According to a Times of India report, he issues statements on behalf of the Maoist central committee under the nom de guerre Abhay. He took charge of the south India operations in 2011 after the formation of a new regional committee which controls areas on either side of Western Ghats, from Goa to Idukki in Kerala. As per the report, he was tasked with carving out a new guerilla zone in the south.
A bomb expert, Venugopal was credited with orchestrating a landmine blast on 1 February, 2017, in an armoured vehicle of Odisha State Armed Police, killing five policemen and injuring 20 at Mogarguma village, near Pottangi in Odisha's Koraput district.
Hailing from Rajur village in Yavatmal district in Maharashtra, this Maoist leader carries a Rs 50 lakh bounty for anyone who provides information about him. Sahyadri — believed to be Milind Teltumbde, a top CPI (Maoist) operative — goes by several aliases such as Dipak, Miling, Pravin, Arun and Sudhir and is the secretary in-charge of the CPI (Maoist) in the state. According to some reports, he is a Dalit Maharashtrian from Chandrapur.
An engineer by education, Sahyadri is a central committee member and is known for his intellect, according to The Hindu. "Suvez Haque, an upright police officer, had inflicted huge setbacks on the Maoists in Gadchiroli of Maharashtra.... But once Mr. Haque was transferred out of Gadchiroli, Milind has rebuilt the party organisation in a very short span of time," a party insider told The Hindu in 2015.
Teltumbde also has links to Dalit icon BR Ambedkar. According to The Indian Express, his brother Anand is married to the sister of Prakash Ambedkar, Babasaheb's grandson.
A senior Naxal leader and the only female member of the central committee of the CPI (Maoist), Narmadakka aka Alluri Usharani Kirankumar hails from Guntur in Andhra Pradesh. She was appointed as the divisional secretary of South Gadchiroli division prior to 2012. She is the second female member, after Anuradha Gandhi, to be appointed as a central committee member, according to the Hindustan Times.
Narmadakka played a crucial role in gathering women tribal folk for the ultra-left movement in the Dandakaranya region. She also set up an "aggressive military force" with the latest arms and ammunition and communication technology to counter the state machinery. Fifty-three cases are registered against her in Maharashtra, reported The Hindu.
She hit the national headlines when Delhi University lecturer GN Saibaba was convicted for aiding Naxal commanders Narmadakka and Ramdhar.
However, reports in 2012 suggested that she was believed to have been killed in a police encounter in Hiker village in Chhattisgarh. As the recent ad released by the Maharashtra Police, Rs 25 lakh has been offered as a cash award for any information on her whereabouts.
A top Naxal leader, Joganna has a Rs 20 lakh bounty for his whereabouts. He hails from Guntur in Andhra Pradesh and has multiple aliases such as Ghisu and Chimala Narsayya. Joganna is believed to be the district division chief for CPI (Maoist)'s Gadchiroli unit. According to a Times of India report, he was the divisional commander of Etapalli dalam (Naxal band), Platoon dalam and Kasansur dalam.
A dreaded guerilla Maoist leader, Pahad Singh belongs to Rajnandgaon district in Chhattisgarh and has a bounty of Rs 16 lakh on his head. He goes by the aliases of Ashok, Tipu Sultan, Kumarsai Katlami and Baburao Topha. According to a report in the South Asia Terrorism Portal, Pahad Singh currently heads the North Gadchiroli-Gondia-Balaghat Divisional Committee. As per a letter he wrote in 2014, he wants his daughters to become doctors, reported The Hindu.
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