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Thipri Thirupati, 46, is believed to be the mastermind

india Updated: Apr 10, 2010 01:12 IST
Manish Tiwari
Manish Tiwari
Hindustan Times
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Thipri Thirupati, leader of the Maoists' central military commission in the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh, hides behind three languages and two pseudonyms.

The 46-year-old Thirupati, alias Devji, alias Chetan, speaks fluent Hindi, Telugu and English and has come a long way from his home in Karimnagar in Andhra Pradesh to lead the rebels in Bastar.

Security agencies believe that it was he who had commanded the operation against the CRPF on Tuesday, killing 76 security personnel.

"The Bastar region has eight Naxal companies (about 800 men) and all big operations in this area are planned by this man," said a senior police official on condition of anonymity.

The rebels who took part in Tuesday's ambush in the Talmetla jungles in Dantewada district, 450 km from Raipur, were reportedly trained in jungle warfare techniques by Thirupati.

A senior officer of the Chhattisgarh Police, G.P. Singh, who also served in the Maoist-hit Bastar region, said, "The guerillas are known for their surprise element. Their intelligence network is far better. They are extremely well trained and have complete knowledge of the terrains."

He said, "They may be so well prepared before an operation that they may have even counted the trees around...their branches as well."

A top CRPF officer posted in the state said the Maoists follow the attack-and-retreat strategy, depending on the situation. They never hesitate to retreat if the security forces are better equipped and stronger in number.

But the moment they get an opportunity to hit, they would clinically plan the attack and execute the plan mercilessly.

Intelligence sources said Thirupati always carries a 9-MM pistol and never ventures into unsafe territory. For, he is a much-wanted man in three states.

While the Andhra Pradesh government is ready to cough up Rs 15 lakh for Thirupati dead or alive, Chhattisgarh has quoted Rs 7 lakh and Maharashtra Rs 30,000.