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Top Maoist, wife killed in ‘encounter’
3 Apr 2008, 0402 hrs IST,TNN
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Top Maosit. Gajerla Saraiah
WARANGAL: CPI (Maoist) central committee member Gajerla Saraiah alias Azad and his wife Rama were killed in an “encounter” in the Eturunagaram forests on Wednesday morning. Azad was one of the key members of the party and a proponent of the Maoist “red corridor” concept.
While Warangal district SP V C Sajjanar said the “encounter” followed after a group of six Maoists were spotted in the forest, sources said that a State Intelligence Bureau (SIB) team had picked up Azad from Karnataka on Tuesday and brought him here. But police stuck to the encounter story saying it took place at around 6.30 am in Kanthanpally forest.
Sajjanar said four Naxalites managed to escape while Azad and his wife were killed in the “encounter” that lasted an hour. He said the police special party combing the area chanced upon the Maoists who opened fire on seeing the police team. The police recovered a carbine, one pistol, a revolver and three kitbags from the encounter site.
Azad was allegedly involved in the 1999 killing of eight coverts (police informers) in the Manala forests in Nizamabad district. He carried a reward of Rs 5 lakh on his head and was wanted in 40 offences. Azad, a native of Velishala village in Chityal mandal in the district, has been underground for the past two decades. His elder brother Gajerla Ravi alias Ganesh is also a top Maoist and had participated in the talks with the government in 2004.
The slain Maoist’s son, G Naveen, later approached the court seeking a direction to the police to conduct the post-mortem at MGM Hospital in Warangal. Judge Kishan Rao then ordered the police to shift the body to MGM Hospital and directed them to videograph the entire post-mortem in the presence of a judge.
Assailing the police version, Virasam leader Vara Vara Rao said Azad was picked up from somewhere and killed in cold blood. “They killed him and dumped his body in the Warangal forests,” he said. While balladeer Gadar said that Azad and Rama were killed in Jharkhand and their bodies dumped in the forests in Warangal. Meanwhile, sources said that Ganesh has issued a warning that Maoists would soon retaliate against his brother’s killing.