A top Maoist leader, who was at the helm of Naxal activities in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region and carried a reward of Rs 40 lakh on his head, has died of heart attack, a senior police officer said on Tuesday.
Ravulu Srinivas alias Ramanna, in his late 50s, died at a forest in Bijapur district last week, he said. However, the outlawed CPI (Maoist) is yet to issue a statement on this, as the outfit usually does in the event of a leader’s death.
'We have information from various sources that Ramanna, the secretary of Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee (DKSZC) of Maoists, died on Saturday night and was cremated at a forest between Pamed and Basaguda villages in Bijapur district,' the Inspector General of Police, Bastar range, Mr. Sundarraj P, said.
'The police have got a lot of evidence to corroborate this information, but we are still waiting for a conclusive evidence,' he said. Ramanna was instrumental in several killings and attacks on security forces, including the 2010 Tadmetla massacre that claimed the lives of 76 troopers. He was also involved in the 2013 Naxal attack in the Darbha valley where 29 people, including some senior Congress leaders and policemen, were killed.
Ramanna, a native of Telengana’s Warangal district, was also a member of the central committee of Maoists and carried a reward of Rs 40 lakh on his head in Chhattisgarh, the senior police official said. His wife, Savitri alias Sodhi Hidme, a local tribal, is also a key Maoist leader in south Bastar and is secretary of the Kistaram Area Committee (KAC).
Their son, Ranjit, is also an active member of the KAC. Ramanna, considered a strategist in inter-state Naxal operations, was in charge of the outlawed movement in Bastar and areas bordering Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.
Following his death, local cadres may try to look for a chance to be elevated to his position as since long, preferences have been given to Naxals from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh for the top posts, resulting in infighting, another police official said.