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Two top Maoists killed

Special Correspondent

ONGOLE/WARANGAL: Continuing the onslaught on the Maoist movement in Andhra Pradesh, police managed to ‘neutralise' two top ranking naxalite leaders in separate gun battles in Prakasam and Warangal districts on Friday morning.

The death of Sakhamuri Appa Rao and Solipeta Kondal Reddy is a strong blow to the Maoist movement which is already suffering a severe setback in the State. Both the slain naxals were known for their organisational and military capabilities and were in the rank of State Committee members. They carried a reward of Rs. 10 lakh and Rs. 5 lakh on their heads respectively.

Two Kalashnikov rifles were recovered at Isullapaya Penta in Prakasam district and Bandhala hillocks in Tadvai forests of Warangal district. Police say some more naxalites managed to escape.

Prakasam SP V. Naveenchand said a police team on combing operation noticed the naxalites atop a hillock and challenged them. A gun battle ensued leading to the killing of a Maoist, who was later identified as Sakhamuri Appa Rao. In Warangal, SP Shah Nawaz Qasim said they had information about movement of a Maoist squad for the last ten days and combing operations were on. “There was provocative firing and our teams retaliated,” he said.

Sakhamuri Appa Rao was both an ideologue and a military strategist. He was arrested in Hyderabad in 1993 and jailed for seven years along with Patel Sudhakar Reddy (Central Committee member recently killed in Warangal). He jumped bail in January 2000 and went underground to work in Nallamala forests and in Andhra Orissa Border Special Zonal Committee (AOBSZC). His rise in the hierarchy was marred by allegations of misbehaviour with women and he was demoted. Later, he worked his way to become a State Committee member and was believed to be in charge of AP State Military Commission.

Rao was accused of being a mastermind of almost all the major naxal-related incidents ranging from the abortive assassination attempt on former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu in Alipiri to killing of IPS officer K.S. Vyas in Hyderabad. Appa Rao was from Khanapur village of Warangal district.

Kondal Reddy hailed from Chittapur. He went underground in 1988 while studying in Badruka College in Hyderabad. He was arrested by Mahankali police in 1992 and jumped bail six months later. He was adept in military and technical field and had earned the nom de guerre ‘Tech Ramana'. He had worked as the secretary of the South Telangana Regional Committee (STRC) coordinating the naxalite movement in south Telangana districts.