'Hardcore naxal' concealed identity to work as labourer in Gujarat; arrested

Updated: Nov 24, 2018, 15:19 IST | PTI | Ahmedabad

Ravidas was considered the 'right hand' for Pradyuman Sharma, the head of 'special area committee' of the CPI (Maoist), Bihar and Jharkhand

Representational Picture
Representational Picture

The Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad Friday nabbed a "hardcore naxal" who was involved in the killing 10 CRPF commandos in Aurangabad district of Bihar in 2016 and was now working as a factory labourer in Valsad district by concealing his identity, police said.  The 33-year-old Rajesh Ravidas, who was declared 'wanted' by the Bihar government, was arrested from Vapi town in Valsad district, the Gujarat ATS said.

Among other crimes, Ravidas, a key member of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) outfit, was involved in the killing of 10 commandos of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in a Naxal ambush in the Aurangabad forests in 2016, the anti-terror squad said in a statement. Based on a specific tip-off, an ATS team nabbed him from the industrial town of Vapi in South Gujarat, where he was working as a labourer in a factory by concealing his real identity, said police officials.

According to the ATS, Ravidas, also known as Uttamji, is a "hardcore naxal" involved in over 50 crimes, including attacks on security forces, and the Bihar government had declared a reward of Rs 50,000 for information on him. Ravidas was considered the 'right hand' for Pradyuman Sharma, the head of 'special area committee' of the CPI (Maoist), Bihar and Jharkhand, the agency said.

The ATS claimed Sharma had appointed Ravidas as the 'Zonal Commander' of Rajgir area of Bihar.
Ravidas, a native of Bahorma village in Gaya district of Bihar, fled to Gujarat earlier this year, said the statement. As per the ATS, Ravidas came in contact with Naxals at the age of 17 in 2002 following a land dispute among his family members.

After resolving the land row with the help of Naxals, he became an active member of the banned outfit and started engaging in anti-national activities, the statement said.
In March 2017, Ravidas was injured in a retaliatory fire by CRPF commandos in the forests of Gaya district. In that operation, four Maoists were gunned down. However, he managed to flee with injuries, the ATS said.

He changed his name to 'Gopal Prasad' and started working as a security guard at a factory in the Union Territory of Daman near Gujarat in the beginning of 2018. Later, he came to Vapi, which is close to Daman, and started working at a factory, the statement said.

Before handing him over to the Bihar police, the ATS is questioning him to find out more about his works in Gujarat and whether he was in contact with Sharma during his stay in the state, it added.

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