Akkiraju Haragopal alias RK, the central committee member of the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) has reportedly died of illness in a forest bordering South Bastar of Chhattisgarh.
While the top Maoist leader died on Wednesday, reports about his death came out only a day later. He was said to be suffering from pneumonia and other ailments. He carried a reward of Rs 50 lakh on his head.
“We are receiving inputs that Ramakrishna died in a forest in the borders of south Bastar on Wednesday. But we are yet to confirm the news,” Dr Abhishek Pallav, Dantewada district superintendent of police told Deccan Chronicle.
Bastar Inspector general of police Sunderraj also maintained that the police was trying to confirm the report. Visakhapatnam district superintendent of police Krishna Rao said the death of RK was confirmed.
The 70-year-old Central Committee member had earlier escaped a few police encounters. In one encounter, held in Malkangiri district of Odisha in 2016, his son Munna was killed. RK’s wife and former Naxalite Padma, who is staying in Alakurapadu village of Prakasam district in AP and sympathisers of the outlawed group refused to comment on the development.
“They (police) killed RK about 50 times and we don’t believe the news,” said a sympathiser based out of Hyderabad.
Padma surrendered to police about a decade ago and was eking out a living by tailoring. She was still in the village till last reports came in and was refusing to talk to anyone on the reports of RK’s death.
Though his name used to figure during several encounters and reports emerged later that he escaped, RK’s presence was confirmed at least twice -- one each in Guntur district and Balimela (Odisha) encounter, in the second of which he is said to have sustained a bullet injury in 2016.
RK, son of a teacher in the backward Planadu region of Guntur district in Andhra Pradesh, was attracted to the Naxal ideology from his school days and was actively involved in the Radical Students Union, the student wing of the People’s War Group which merged with Maoists post the peace talks held by then YS Rajasekhar Reddy-led Congress government in 2004.
He went underground about four decades ago and came into the mainstream for a brief period during the peace talks.
A committed worker of the erstwhile PWG, he served as the state secretary and went on to become the member of the central committee. A tech wizard, RK also handled the technical research for the outlawed group and his name figured in the landmine blast at Alipiri targeting former Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu
He led the Technical Research Arms Manufacturing (TRAM) unit of the CPI (M), which is mainly involved in making arms and weapons required for the group.