Chhattisgarh police confirmed the death of the top Maoist leader following wireless intercepts by intelligence agencies but the CPI (Maoist) is yet to release a statement.

Maoist leader RK in 2004Image: ETV/YouTube screengrab
news Maoist death Friday, October 15, 2021 - 09:23

Top Maoist leader Akkiraju Haragopal alias Ramakrishna or RK, who led the Maoists in peace talks with the then Andhra Pradesh government in 2004, died of illness in Chhattisgarh, sources said on Thursday. According to the sources, the 58-year-old leader, popularly known as RK, succumbed to chronic illness in south Bastar in Chhattisgarh on Wednesday.

He was a member of the central committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) and in charge of the Andhra-Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee of the banned outfit. A key ideologue of the party, RK, had several cases pending against him in different states and was carrying a reward of Rs 97 lakh. Chhattisgarh police confirmed the death of the top Maoist leader following wireless intercepts by intelligence agencies. However, the CPI (Maoist) is yet to release a statement confirming the same.

Hailing from Tumrukota village of Rentachintala in Andhra Pradesh's Guntur district, he had led CPI-ML People's War Group in the peace talks with the Congress government headed by YS Rajasekhara Reddy in undivided Andhra Pradesh. During the talks, the CPI-ML People's War merged with the then Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) to form the CPI (Maoist). The talks had ended in failure as Maoists pulled out of the process, accusing the government of breaking the ceasefire.

RK was injured in an exchange of fire with police in Malkangiri district of Odisha in October 2016. Thirty Maoists were killed in that incident and initially he was reported missing. In the same exchange of fire, which was led by the Greyhounds unit of the Andhra Pradesh police and Odisha police, his son Prudhvi alias Munna had died. Civil rights groups had initially alleged that he was in police custody. RK's wife, Sirisha, had even filed a habeas corpus petition in the Hyderabad High Court.

She had sought directions to the police to produce RK in court. The Andhra Pradesh police, however, told the court that RK was not in their custody. Later, the Maoists issued a statement that he was safe.

RK is one of the most popular ideologues of the outlawed party as he played a key role in the formation of the party by merger of the Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist) People's War (People's War Group) and the Maoist Communist Centre of India (MCCI) in 2004. With around four decades as a Maoist who had taken up arms, RK was accused of playing a key role in several attacks including the infamous Alipiri blast, where Maoists tried to kill former CM Chandrababu Naidu in 2003 and the Balimela Ambush of 2008 where 37 Greyhounds personnel were killed. RK was also allegedly part of the armed action team, that assassinated Daggubati Chechuramaiah, who was accused in the Karamchedu Dalit massacre.

(With IANS inputs)

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