AP police arrests top woman Maoist Aruna?

Most-wanted women Maoist leader Aruna alias Venkata Ravi Chaitanya, who has a reward of Rs 5 lakh on her head, is learnt to have been captured by the Andhra Pradesh police after the encounter at Gummirevula village in Visakhapatnam forests where five Maoists were killed earlier this week.

Aruna is accused of involvement in the killing of two former Telugu Desam Party MLAs Kidari Sarveshwar Rao and Siveri Soma on September 23 last year and is wedded to dreaded Maoist leader Chalapathi, who heads the Eastern division of the CPI (Maoist) and carries a reward of Rs 20 lakh on his head.

The couple had escaped a major encounter in the Andhra-Odisha border in 2016. Director General of Police Gautam Sawang, however said that the arrested Maoist leader was Sake Kalavathi alias Bhavani, and not Aruna. He said Bhavani was the wife of Maoist state committee member Peddanna alias Jagan and has been a rebel for the last 20 years.

“She was caught at Buradakota village of East Godavari district with two bullet wounds on Friday and admitted to the government hospital at Rajahmundry,” the DGP said, adding the combing in the Andhra-Odisha border areas was still on.

However, the convenor of Maoist Martyrs’ Relatives Association Padma Kumari said both Aruna and Bhavani were arrested on Friday evening at Cherukumallu hamlet near Gummirevula village, where the exchange of fire between the Maoists and the security forces took place earlier.

“The police had taken a villager into custody who led them to Aruna and Bhavani, both had been injured in the encounter,” Padma Kumari said.

The police did not reveal the identity of the five Maoists who were killed in a span of two days – three on Sunday and two on Monday. However, Padma Kumari quoted an extremist leader to claim Ramesh, a platoon commander of Sukuma in South Bastar division, Vimala, a platoon member of Bijapur, Bhuma, a party member of Dharba division, Budri, a platoon member of Sukuma and Ajay, party member of Bijapur– all from Chhattisgarh—were the ones killed.

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