Maoist leader Haragopal in police custody, activists and family allege

FILES-INDIA-UNREST-MAOIST Taken in 2012, the photo shows maoists readying their weapons as they take part in a training camp in a forested area of Bijapur District in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh

Mystery surrounds the disappearance of top maoist leader Akkiraju Haragopal alias Ramakrishna. It is suspected that RK, as he was also known, was present at the meeting in Malkangiri when it was ambushed by the law enforcement. Did he escape with other top leaders? Was he, the most well-known face in the maoist central committee, nabbed by the Greyhound after the Malkangiri encounter?

Maoist sympathisers and human rights activists have alleged that RK was in police custody and demanded that he be produced before the court. The secretary of CPI (Maoist) east division committee Kailash also claims so. Based on these claims, the Hyderabad High Court today directed the AP government to disclose whether the top Maoist leader was under the police custody.  In an audio release, the Maoist leader said that security personnel had taken top naxal leader Ramakrishna alias RK in their custody.

RK, the central committee secretary of the banned outfit CPI (Maoist), has been missing since the fierce encounter with police last week in Malkangiri district of Odisha in which over 30 Naxalites were killed.

Ramakrishna’s wife Sirisha also filed a habeas corpus petition before the high court. Admitting the petition, the court asked the AP government to file a counter by November 3 when further hearing of the case would be resumed.

The court opined that it was the responsibility of the government to ensure protection of all citizens, irrespective of their views. It has asked the state advocate general to ascertain whether Ramakrishna was alive or was killed in the encounter. 

“We have credible information that my husband is under the custody of the police. The Court also agreed to our argument that Ramakrishna would have contacted us if he is alive and hiding somewhere. He is missing in action since October 24 when the encounter took place,” Sirisha told media persons outside the court premises.

The civil liberties groups in Hyderabad and in the coastal Andhra city of Visakhapatnam are not ready to listen to the argument of the AP government that it had no jurisdiction over the encounter incident that occurred in the neighbouring Odisha. “How can the AP government send its elite anti Naxal force (Grey Hounds) to Malkangiri and say that it has no knowledge,” the Maoist ideologue and revolutionary poet Varavara Rao asked. “We strongly believe that Ramakrishna is under the police custody and his life is in danger,” he said.

The police denied taking the Maoist leader into custody. “Such allegations are part of the usual tactics employed by Maoist sympathisers,” said Visakhapatnam (rural) superintendent of police Rahul Dev Sharma, who has also been threatened by the maoists.

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