A member of banned left-wing outfit CPI-ML (New Democracy) was killed in an alleged gunfight with the police in Telangana's Bhadradri Kothagudem district on Wednesday. Two Maoists were nabbed by the police. However, according to the police they managed to escape when villagers who had gathered protested against their detention.
The exchange of fire occurred in Rollagadda Devallagudem forest area in the district, bordering Chhattisgarh. The police personnel came face-to-face with an armed squad of CPI-ML (New Democracy), a splinter group of Maoists.
Speaking to TNM the Bhadradri-Kothagudem Superintendent of Police Sunil Dutt said the person killed in the clash has been identified as Linganna, area commander for the CPI-ML. "At 8am we got information about Naxalite movement near Gundala area based on which we informed the Octopus and other teams. We started combing operations, when we reached the area, we noticed five to seven Maoists. We took the precautions and called them to surrender. But they started firing and we returned fire. One person was killed while the others ran away. There are no casualties on our side," said Sunil who added that the Maoists had a Self-Loading Rifle (SLR).
Thereafter, the police then began a cordon and search operation and, in the process, caught two of the Maoists and confiscated their SLR weapons. But by then the local leaders who are sympathisers of the banned Maoists group gathered a crowd, allege the police.
In the videos that emerged on social media soon after the incident people could be seen sloganeering and demanding the police to release those who have been detained.
However, the SP said the crowd was orchestrated by local leaders who are supportive of the banned CPI-ML, "When the body was being brought to the mortuary. The sympathisers mobilised people. They tried to obstruct and pelted stones on police," said Sunil.
According to the police, two Maoist insurgents escaped when villagers started pelting stones. The video does show people throwing stones and giving blows to an officer who manages a quick escape pic.twitter.com/hTbamdAfvDâ€” Mithun MK (@KalkiSpeaks) August 1, 2019
Police allege the villagers attacked them which helped the two Maoists escape. "They wanted the two Maoists to be released as the two were natives. We had to take care of the weapons we had seized and that was our priority and to ensure they don't get snatched. In that chaos, the two of them ran away. We fired shots in the air to disperse the crowd," said Sunil who added, "Those who have instigated the crowd, the leaders, we will take strict legal action against them."