One of the three alleged Maoists shot dead in an “encounter” by the police on the Telangana-Chhattisgarh border on Friday was 19-year-old Kodamagundla Vivek, a dropout from Osmania University who had played a major role during the students’ agitation for Telangana in 2012-14.
Hundreds of people, Osmania University students and alumni attended Vivek’s funeral and a meeting at Suryapet on Sunday to protest against the alleged encounter.
Soon after the killings, a CPI (Maoist) North Telangana spokesperson, Jagan, had issued a statement accusing the police of killing unarmed Vivek and two others in cold blood.
A member of the Telangana Vidyarthi Vedika, the students’ political wing of Osmania University, Vivek had dropped out of a five-year integrated law course in September last year, and with Telangana formed as a separate state, disappeared from the campus scene soon after.
A fiery orator and speaker at Osmania University, Vivek would often feature in newspapers and social media in photos where he was being dragged away by police during protests.
“I cannot believe this 19-year-old boy has been shot dead by police,” said revolutionary writer and poet Vara Vara Rao, who met Vivek’s family at Suryapet Sunday afternoon.
Hailing from Nalgonda district, Vivek left home on October 8 telling his parents he wanted to work for the poor and told them about his resolve to join the Maoists. “We tried to reason with him but he didn’t listen. He was very active in the students’ agitation in Osmania and, during that period, he seemed to have drifted towards Maoists. After leaving, he called one day and promised to return home soon,” Vivek’s father K Yoganand said.
A few days before he left, he had posted a leaflet on his Facebook page, issued by the Committee Against Operation Greenhunt, demanding that police operation against Maoists be stopped.
“He was very passionate about the rights of people, especially the poor. Although he used to talk about it a lot, few people knew what was on his mind until he left Hyderabad to join the Maoists,” his friend Tekula Kranti said.
Vivek’s parents Yoganand and K Madhavi are government teachers while his brother K Srinivas has done B Tech.