Top Maoist leader Akkiraju Haragopal alias Ramakrishna alias RK, who was said to have been missing after a massive operation led by the Andhra Pradesh Greyhounds in the dense forest at the Andhra-Orissa border, is learnt to have been seriously injured in the encounter, a top home ministry official told The Hindu.
RK, who is one of the central committee members of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) and one of the key leaders of the party in the Andhra-Orissa zone, is said to have now fled to Dandakaranya forests in neighbouring Chhattisgarh.
“We have information that he was injured as we got reports of unusual amount of medical supplies being sneaked into the Dandakaranya forest region a day after the encounter. The Maoists have suffered a severe blow due to this encounter and we expect retaliation,” said the home ministry official.
Thirty-one members of the banned CPI (Maoist) were killed in an encounter with a combined team of the Greyhounds and Odisha police near Jantri in Malkangiri district of Odisha, a few km away from the border with Andhra Pradesh, on October 24.
The official said a crack team of around 30 commandos was involved in the ambush, while three other teams waited at three locations.
“The Maoists were conducting an important meeting, we believe it was part of their training module. As soon as the crack team reached the meeting site, the sentries of the Maoists got to know and they were the first to open fire. Had the Greyhounds team not been late by merely five minutes, they could have got RK,” said the official.
An assessment by home ministry said it was expecting a surge in the number of surrenders after this encounter.
RK had been missing since the encounter and wife Sirisha had filed a habeas corpus petition in the the High Court of Hyderabad charging that he was in the custody of Andhra Pradesh police. She withdrew the petition three days ago. Revolutionary writer Varavara Rao had also confirmed to reporters that RK was safe. Soon after the news of the encounter broke, it was reported that RK was present at the encounter spot but managed to escape. While the Andhra Pradesh police denied reports that RK was detained by them, civil rights activists and people’s associations expressed apprehensions that his life was under threat.