Varavara Rao, one of the five Urban Naxals who have been put under house arrest by Pune police in Bhima Koregaon case, had allegedly attended the funeral of a top Maoist terrorist killed in the Gadchiroli encounter in April this year. According to reports, he has also attended a meeting to commemorate the first death anniversary of slain Maoist commander Kapuka Prabhakar.
Times of India has reported that the dossier on Varavara Rao by the intelligence agencies mentions that he allegedly attended the funeral of Shrikant alias Srinu, who was the secretary of south Gadchiroli divisional committee of CPI(M). Srinu was killed in an encounter with security forces in April. In what was hailed by the home ministry as one of the most successful anti-Maoist operations in recent times, 39 Maoist terrorists were killed in an encounter in the Gadchiroli area in Maharashtra on April 22, 2018. Srinu’s funeral was reportedly held in Telangana’s Jayashankar-Bhupalapally district on April 25th.
It is notable here that Srinu was a 51-year-old top Maoist commander and was wanted by the police for years. His wife Shyamala was a Maoist leader too, but she had reportedly taken Rs 35 lakhs from the party fund and had surrendered before the Telangana police in 2012.
The TOI report also states that Varavara Rao was also a part of the commemoration meeting organised in October 2017 by the Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF), Revolutionary writer’s association and Telangana Praja Front to observe the first death anniversary of Kapuka Prabhakar, another divisional committee member of CPI(M). Prabhakar was killed in an encounter in Odisha’s Malkangiri district in October 2016. Varavara Rao is the national president of the RDF. As per the report, the intelligence agency dossier on Varavara Rao mentions that he allegedly hailed Prabhakar’s role in the Maoist movement and claimed that the encounters were fake and Maoist leaders had been killed in cold blood by the security forces.
It is notable here that the Malkangiri encounter in October 2016 was also one of the biggest encounters in the state and was jointly carried out by Andhra Pradesh’s Greyhound forces and Odisha police. 28 Maoists were killed in the encounter. Varavara Rao had actively criticised the encounter at that time and had alleged that the police are holding the top Maoist leader Akkiraju Haragopal, alias RK as a hostage, RK’s son was also killed in the encounter. Later, Visakhapatnam SP Rahul Sharma had denied Varavara Rao’s allegations and had stated that he is probably making the allegations as he has not been informed of the recent status of hiding Maoist leaders through his own channels.
Varavara Rao was arrested last week along with six other suspected Urban Naxals but was later kept under house arrest after the intervention of the Supreme Court. The Maharashtra police had launched a massive crackdown following the investigations into the Bhima Koregaon violence of January 2018.