Mumbai/Gadchiroli, May 3 (IANS) The Maharashtra Police on Thursday appealed to people to help track down Maoists hiding in urban areas in return for a whopping total reward of Rs 1.66 crore. For the first time, advertisements were placed in the English media too.
Besides looking for the top functionaries of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist, police are also trying to flush out some 190 heavily armed Maoist cadres and sympathizers still lurking in the forests of Gadchiroli and surrounding districts, said a top official.
Police in Gadchiroli have issued full-page advertisements in leading English media naming five most wanted Maoists who may be spotted in towns or cities, away from the dense jungles of the district.
“This is the first time we have issued such an appeal in the English media to create larger awareness among the people,” Gadchiroli Superintendent of Police Abhinav Deshmukh told IANS.
He said the Maoists comprise the top rung leadership “who are active and at ease, both in the jungles and the concrete jungles (cities)”.
“They not only fight in the jungles but travel frequently to big cities for finances, food and medical stocks, clothes, uniforms and shoes, logistics support including procuring weapons. However, they could be in disguise and hence difficult for people in urban centres to recognize them as they go about their business,” Deshmukh said.
The ads with photographs of the most wanted Maoists include four men and a woman.
Malojula Venugopal alias Bhupati/Sonu/Vivek/Laxminarayan/Lachhana Abhay of Yedapalli village in Karimnagar, Andhra Pradesh. (Reward Rs 6 mn).
Sahyadri Teltumbde alias Dipak/Miling/Pravin/Arun/Sudhir of Rajur village in Yavatmal, Maharashtra. (Reward Rs 5 mn).
Chimala Narsayya alias Joganna/Ghisu of Ramgundam village in Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh. (Reward Rs 2 mn).
Baburao Topha alias Kumarsai Katlami/Tipu Sultan/Ashok/Pahadsing of Fafamar village in Rajnandgaon district of Chhattisgarh. (Reward Rs 1.60 mn).
The sole woman in the wanted list with a reward of Rs 2.50 mn is Alluri Usharani Kirankumar alias Narmadakka of Gurwada village in Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh.
“Last year, based on various inputs and Maoist literature we recovered, there were an estimated 230 armed but underground rebels in Gadchiroli district alone. Of these, at least 40 were eliminated on April 22-23. So, we believe another around 190 cadres may be still active but in hiding in more than a dozen groups,” Deshmukh said.
However, they have many supporters among commoners overground whose numbers are difficult to estimate, he added.
Deshmukh said that when there is a shortfall of cadres in the ‘dalams’ (groups/units) operating in any area, they ‘transfer’ the requisite numbers from neighbouring states to fill the gaps.
The latest step was taken after the success of the biggest-ever twin anti-Maoist operations conducted in India in the past nearly four decades, which left 40 Maoists, a majority of them women, dead in the Gadchiroli forests.
He said that similar media appeals issued through vernacular newspapers in the past elicited “very good response from the public” in view of the attractive rewards.