GAJARLA RAVI, a top CPI (Maoist) leader suspected to have been among the Maoists killed in Monday’s police operation in Malkangiri district of Odisha, was the third of five brothers in the household to have joined the ranks of the Left-wing extremists.
Ravi, 49, and his brother Gajarla Ashok, 43, were among Maoist leaders who ‘surfaced’ about a dozen years ago and took part in peace talks with the then Andhra Pradesh government in October 2004. Among others who were part of the talks was Akkiraju Haragopal (alias Ramakrishna, alias RK), who is said to have escaped the joint Odisha-Andhra Pradesh police operation today.
According to Ravi’s nephew Gajarla Navin, the family will file a petition in court seeking an investigation into what he alleged is a “fake encounter”. “Right now, I and my two uncles are going to Malkangiri to take custody of his (Ravi’s) body,’’ Navin said over phone late Monday afternoon.
Rising through the ranks to become the secretary of Andhra-Odisha Border (AOB) special zonal committee of CPI (Maoist), Ravi, 49, was said to be ruthless in his planning of attacks on police personnel and suspected police informers. He was also dreaded for attacks on road and civic infrastructure machinery and mobile towers on both sides of the state border.
According to Ravi’s family members in Velishala village, in Chityala mandal of Telangana’s Warangal district, Ravi (alias Ganesh, alias Uday) had joined the Maoist ranks with two brothers — Gajarla Saraiah (alias Azad) and Gajarla Ashok (alias Aithu) — in the 1980s.
Their eldest brother, Rajaiah, was a Maoist sympathiser but did not join the extremist ranks; he died five years
ago. The fifth brother, Gajarla Samaiah, worked with Singareni Collieries until recently.
In April 2008, Saraiah was killed in an encounter in Warangal district. The family had filed a petition, seeking a probe into the encounter.
After spending nearly 25 years underground, Gajarla Ashok, 43, surrendered in November 2015. According to police, Ashok was responsible for the killing of nearly 55 police personnel in Gadchiroli. He is also suspected to have been involved in the murder of Lloyd Steel vice-president Jaspal Singh Dhillon in Gadchiroli in 2013.
Saraiah’s son Navin said Ashok decided to surrender after he fell sick and needed treatment for a kidney disease. Like Ravi, Ashok also carried a reward of Rs 20 lakh on his head. He was given the money as part of the surrender policy.