The surrender of Chamballa Ravinder alias Arjun, chief of the Abujhmaad battalion of CPI (Maoist), with his wife Wetti Adime alias Ranitha in Hyderabad Friday is among the biggest losses the rebel group has faced in recent years. A resident of Warrangal in Telangana, Arjun was a close lieutenant of the party’s general secretary Muppala Laxman Rao alias Ganapathy. He participated in some of the biggest attacks on security personnel in Maoists’ history, including the one at Rani Bodli in Bijapur district. As many as 55 Chhattisgarh cops were killed when Maoists raided a police camp in March 2007. Of late, Arjun largely operated in Abujhmaad region of Bastar.
Arjun joined PWG in the 1990s and became the commander of the first company raised by Maoists in Abujhmaad. He was later elevated as a member of the influential Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee, before replacing Ramdher as the head of the Abujhmaad battalion recently. While Maoists formed a battalion in South Bastar in 2008, the Abujhmaad battalion was constituted in 2012.
During a recent visit to Dandakaranya, The Indian Express interacted with these battalion chiefs and learnt that Arjun was well-versed in Hindi, English, Telugu and Gondi. He was well respected among cadres and had the image of a committed ideologue and a fierce guerilla. None of his fellow comrades betrayed the feeling that he could surrender so soon.