Top rebel killed in Rayagada encounter: cops

TNN, Jan 10, 2011

BHUBANESWAR/KORAPUT: Upbeat over gunning down nine Maoists in Rayagada district the day before, police on Monday confirmed that one of those killed was Rabi, a hardcore rebel who was heading a unit of the Vansadhara division of the outlawed CPI (Maoist).

While Rabi hailed from East Godavari district in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, the other slain extremists, including five women, were natives of Orissa, police said. Maoists, meanwhile, observed a bandh in the southern Orissa districts of Rayagada, Gajapati and Kandhamal, blocked roads and damaged a couple of mobile towers. “Andhra police had earlier announced a cash award on Rabi. He was into extremist activities at least for the last eight-nine years. He was commander of the Kashipur dalam of the Vansadhara division and was actively involved in inducting, organizing and training recruits,” DIG (South-western range) Saumyendra Priyadarshi told TOI.

According to police, Rabi had several aliases like Devvuri, Srinu and Ramesh. The others have been identified as Rajendra, Lengu, Ramesh Kulsika, Rinky, Nirmala, Mamata Sipka, Karuna and Kamala. Lengu hailed from Dharmagarh in Kalahandi district and Mamata from Gajapati district, while the others were from Rayagada, police said. “We brought a Maoist, who was arrested by us some time back, and he identified those killed,” the DIG informed.

Based on intelligence inputs regarding movement of ultras in Bhasangamali hillock in Kashipur area, the District Voluntary Force (DVF), which comprises ex-special operations group personnel, had engaged in hours-long gunbattle with Maoists killed nine ultras on the wee hours of Sunday. Police suspects that at least two were guerillas were shot dead, but is yet to recover their bodies.

Police sources said there were 20 to 25 Maoists in the camp and they intended to target vital government installations including police stations, block offices and mobile towers in the area. Police also seized seven weapons, huge quantity of gelatin sticks, Maoist literature and half a truck load of personal belongings. “We have to literature to learn more about the Maoists plans,” a senior cop said. Home secretary U N Behera attributed the police success to effective intelligence gathering and said because of adequate deployment of central and state forces Orissa was now ready to take the battle to the Maoist camp.

The police success, billed as the biggest in its ongoing war against Maoists, almost coincided with a high meeting convened by Union home minister P Chidambaram with DGPs of nine extremist-hit states in New Delhi. “Our spirit is high. The ongoing anti-Maoist operation will be intensified in the coming days as the rebels might retaliate violently. We expect more success in our counter insurgency exercises,” Priyadarsi said.

Police sources said they had information that family members of some of the slain Maoists, including of Rabi, are on their way to claim the bodies. “We have got some information. We will extend all help in anybody comes to claim the bodies,” a senior cop said.

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