India Today - - SPECIAL REPORT -

Po­lice of­fi­cials in Ch­hat­tis­garh say the or­ders for this tar­geted killing of politi­cians al­most cer­tainly flowed down from the top of the Maoist pyra­midi­cal struc­ture: The polit­buro. Mup­pala Lak­sh­man Rao, 63, as gen­eral sec­re­tary head­ing the Maoists’ 14- mem­ber cen­tral com­mit­tee, was per­son­ally seen su­per­vis­ing the train­ing of the cadres in Bas­tar. Also known as Ganapathy (‘ leader of the forces’), he has been re­spon­si­ble for the resur­gence of the Maoists af­ter a two- year lull. Un­der him, spe­cial­ists from Andhra Pradesh had started train­ing cadre for­ma­tions of the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Guer­rilla Army in the re­cesses of Bi­japur and Sukma dis­tricts.

The swarthy, soft- spo­ken and be­spec­ta­cled Ganapathy is an un­likely leader of one of Asia’s largest guer­rilla armies. The for­mer school­teacher from Karim­na­gar, Andhra Pradesh, com­mands 10,000 armed cadres who op­er­ate in a 40,000 km swathe across Ch­hat­tis­garh, Jhark­hand, Odisha and Bi­har. Yet he re­mains a shad­owy fig­ure who was sighted last in Rourkela and Behram­pur in 2002 and 2003. He car­ries a re­ward of Rs 24 lakh on his head but all in­tel­li­gence agen­cies have is a grainy pic­ture from 1977 when he was ar­rested for vi­o­lence and

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