Hardcore Maoist activist and a bodyguard of slain Maoist leader Kishenji, Supai Tudu was on Tuesday killed in an encounter with the security forces at the Ramtandi forest under Gorabandha police station in Ghatsila sub-division in East Singhbhum district of Jharkhand.
He had also played a major role in the Lalgarh movement in West Midnapore district of West Bengal. Supai was carrying a reward of Rs 15 lakh on his head and was involved in over 25 Naxal-related cases in East Singhbhum district including murder, ransom etc., besides several others in West Bengal and Odisha, Senior Superintendent of Police Anoop T Mathew said.
Security forces comprising the CRPF and the District Armed Police personnel launched a massive anti-Naxal operation based on information that Maoists of the Kanu Munda squad had assembled in the forest, the police said.
The operation was led by SSP Mathew. The ultras opened fire at the security personnel, forcing them to retaliate in self-defence in which Supai was killed.
SP (Rural) Shailendra Kumar Burnwal said while Supai was killed in the encounter, his wife Sonali was arrested.
Mathew said the Maoists arrested during the Lalgarh movement had confessed that Supai was instrumental in fomenting trouble there and the rebels had even captured the police station and had not allowed it to function till the para-military forces intervened. The SSP said Supai was involved in the killing of some local CPI(M) leaders and two policemen in Dharampur during the Lalgarh movement.
Supai’s wife, Sonali alias Simi Hembram, a resident of Lalgarh, was also involved in the killing of the policemen, he added. Mathew said Supai, who joined the Maoist group at the age of 14, was wanted by the police in Bengal, Jharkhand and Odisha.
A self-styled zonal commander and the second-in-command of the Maoist outfit in East Singhbhum, Supai had sneaked into the district after Kishenji was killed and was operating under the armed squad of Kanu Munda. Mathew claimed that Supai was the main culprit in the gunning down of Dhanai Kisku, the general secretary of Nagarik Suraksha Samiti, an anti-Maoist group of villagers, at Musaboni in Ghatsila sub-division a few years ago.
Two pistols and mobile phones were seized from the spot after today’s encounter, the SSP added. Jharkhand DGP DK Pandey, accompanied by DIG (Kolhan) Sambhu Thakur, rushed to the spot soon after the encounter. Later, talking to reporters, Pandey hailed the security personnel for their “timely action” and described the elimination of Supai as a “major achievement” in the anti-Maoist offensive. Supai and his leader Kanu Munda have been hindering development works for long, the DGP said and assured of adequate security measures to carry out development projects in the Maoist-affected areas