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Telangana couple tops Jharkhand’s list of most wanted left-wing extremists

While Sudhakaran, a central committee member of the banned People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army, commands a cash reward of Rs 25 lakh, Nilima has a price of Rs 10 lakh on her head.

ranchi Updated: Aug 22, 2017 20:47 IST
B Vijay Murty
B Vijay Murty
Hindustan Times, Ranchi
Maoists gather at the ninth congress of the extremist organisation at an undisclosed spot in Chhattisgarh.(PTI File)

Marriage is not the only factor that unites Sudhakaran and Nilima.

A recent police poster that called out 12 Maoist leaders in Jharkhand featured the couple right on top, alongside a number of other gun-toting extremists. While Sudhakaran, a central committee member of the banned People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA), commanded a cash reward of Rs 25 lakh, Nilima – a special committee member with the outfit – had a price of Rs 10 lakh on her head.

A life of hiding from the law has forced several aliases on the couple. Sudhakaran is also referred to as Kiran or Sharad, depending on requirement, while his wife answers to anything from Padma to Jaya. Though the two hail from Telangana, their current field of operation is the tri-junction of Latehar, Lohardaga and Gumla districts in Jharkhand.

It was with the intention of reviving a faltering PLGA – hit hard by successive arrests and encounter killings by the authorities – that the couple moved east from Chhattisgarh around two years ago. According to police, Sudhakaran is an expert at guerilla warfare and tactics. Under him, the local unit of the PLGA has made great strides in organisational management, recruitment and training in planting improvised explosive devices. Today, Sudhakar seems well on his way to replacing Arvind Kumar and Misir Besra – two top leaders struggling with old age and illness – and taking total control of the group’s operations.

However, Lohardaga superintendent of police Karthik Sen claimed the two haven’t been able to undertake any particularly disastrous mission in the state so far on account of a relentless offensive by security forces. “From the intelligence we have, they are hiding somewhere in Gumla. But our men are confident of tracking and neutralising Sudhakar and Nilima unless they surrender soon,” he said.

“Through our poster, we asked insurgents to lay down arms, leave their world of bloodshed behind, and join the mainstream by availing the benefits of the state’s lucrative surrender policy.”

The other extremists mentioned on the poster are PLGA zonal commanders Ravindra Ganjhu, Deepak Oraon, Bhushan Oraon, Balram Oraon and Muneshwar Oraon (with a price of Rs 10 lakh on their heads) and sub-zonal commanders Ugeshwar Yadav, Aghnu Ganjhu and Balak Ganjhu (commanding a cash reward of Rs 5 lakh). Two area commanders – Anil Turi and Govind Birjiya – also figure in the poster.

Jharkhand police have arrested over 1,400 Left extremists – including 30 top leaders – in the last three years. They also busted six bunkers, raided seven mini-gun factories and seized Rs 1 crore in levies, forcing at least 62 rebels to lay down arms during this period.

While there were 54 extremist attacks across Jharkhand in 2011, the number came down to 17 in 2016. No major incident has been reported from any part of the state so far this year.

The PLGA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of India (Maoist).

First Published: Aug 22, 2017 09:51 IST