An ambush by 400 Maoists which resulted in the martyrdom of 22 jawans in the Bijapur-Sukma district of Chhattisgarh was led by new CPI Maoist leader, Basava Raju, as per a News18 report.
The report also suggests that the most-wanted Maoist commander and leader of the ‘People’s Liberation Guerilla Army’- Hidma, was offered as a bait to the security forces to trap them with little room to escape. This attack in which the Maoists used low-intensity IEDs and rocket launchers and open-fired at the security forces from three sides was guided by Maoist leader, Basava Raju. It is suspected that Hidma was in the vicinity when the security forces were ambushed, but he was not a part of the attack.
Basava Raju’s modus operandi is considered to be lethal where he focuses on hiding and killing rather than close encounters. The past few attacks in Jharkhand and Dantewada witnessed pressure bomb explosions, a tactic used by Basava Raju to execute killings. “The pressure bombs earlier used one or two kgs of explosives, now 7-8kg is being used. The intention is to kill and not just deter forces from going inside Maoist strongholds,” Dr Abhishek Pallav, SP Dantewada told News18.
Nambala Keshav Rao, alias Basava Raju, was made the new general secretary of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) in 2018, as per a Hindustan Times report. One of the most elusive Maoist leaders, Basava Raju carries an AK-47, according to a 2011 Intelligence Bureau (IB) report and promotes a military approach to strike terror within the security camps.
As per the report, in an article published in the party’s theoretical organ “People’s War” in 2013, Basava Raju laid down the roadmap for a revolution. The report read, “If we can mobilize the peasantry on a vast scale and militantly into an armed agrarian revolution to completely solve the land issue in our country, we will acquire the most essential basic condition and preconditions to defeat all our enemies and complete the New Democratic Revolution.”
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had announced a reward of Rs 1.5 million for information leading to him apart from rewards announced by the governments of Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
A resident of Jiyannapeta village in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh, Basava Raju holds a BTech degree from the Regional Engineering College, Warrangal. In 1987, Basava Raju underwent training in the forests of Bastar from a group of former fighters of the Sri Lankan Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in ambush tactics and the handling of gelatin.