Top Maoist leader and spokesperson of Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee, Gumudavelli Venkatakrishna Prasad alias ‘Gudsa Usendi’, surrendered on Wednesday before Andhra Pradesh Police.
The 53-year-old leader hailing from Kadivendi village of Warangal district surrendered with his wife Raji before the anti-Maoist Special Intelligence Branch (SIB) which has not officially confirmed his surrender or arrest so far.
After holding various positions in the Maoist party in Chattisgarh, Prasad was appointed spokesperson of the Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee about five years ago.
Prasad’s surrender may prove to be a big blow to the Maoists as he oversaw many operations in Chhattisgarh, including the Bastar ambush on Congress leaders’ convoy in which 27 were killed.
Like`Azad’, Gudsa Usendi is the pseudonym given to all spokespersons of Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee. The real Gudsa Usendi was a 17-year-old Maoist who was killed in a police operation in June 2000 in Abujmarh in Chattisgarh. `Gudsa Usendi’ also has a Facebook page which says “Gudsa Usendi Never dies, Phantom of Dantewada”. Prasad left his home in Warangal after graduation when he was 20 years old and joined the former People’s War Group (PWG). He went underground and spent the last 30-odd years in the forests of Chattisgarh and Maharashtra.
Well-read and highly intelligent, Prasad is well-known for his ingenious methods of delivering messages, statements, and press releases to media and political leaders; emails from ghost IP addresses, notes stuck on doors, propaganda CDs appearing in MLAs chambers, etc. He also released the chilling statement claiming responsibility for the May 25, 2013 Bastar ambush on Congress leaders in which Chattisgarh Congress chief Nand Kumar Patel and senior leaders Mahendra Karma and V C Shukla were killed with 24 others. For his stealth he earned the nickname`phantom’. He carries a reward of Rs 15 lakhs.
Highly ranked and regarded for his soft skills rather than military, Prasad was also part of the CPI (Maoist)’s think tank; writing analysis on the party’s performance, and articles on strategy, tactics and reforms. He has been very critical of excessive violence by the Maoists where it was not necessary and advocated killing as a last resort. He become more prominent after Mallojula Koteswara Rao alias Kishanji was killed in an encounter with police in West Bengal in November 2011.
When Maoist leaders surrender, AP police usually claim officially that it was due to health reasons which may also be the case with Prasad alias Gudsa Usendi. However, sources said that Prasad fell out with the CPI (Maoist) leadership after he severely criticized the ambush in Chattisgarh in which the Congress leaders were killed. Prasad himself had claimed that he ordered the ambush on the convoy carrying the Congress leaders but regretted the end result. Prasad opined that more innocent people were killed while the target was only the political leaders. He was also sidelined in recent months as differences cropped up among members of Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee, and CPI (Maoist) Central Committee, sources said.