Body of slain Greyhounds officer brought to Andhra

Hyderabad, April 20 (IANS) The body of a Andhra Pradesh Police officer killed by Maoists in the forests of Chhattisgarh following a gunfight Tuesday was brought to the state’s Khammam district Saturday night.

The body of Vara Prasad, reserve inspector of Greyhounds, the elite anti-Maoist force of Andhra Pradesh Police was brought to Cherla police station near the border with Chhattisgarh.

The officer’s body, which had decomposed beyond recognition, was secured from the custody of Maoists after mediation by some civil liberties activists and tribal leaders.

Tension prevailed through the day in tribal villages on Andhra-Chhattisgarh border as people feared a clash between Maoists and police. Some tribal leaders and rights activists held talks with Maoists and convinced them to handover the body on humanitarian grounds.

Rains in the region, however, delayed the handing over of the body to the mediators, who in turn handed it over to police.

A police officer said the body would be shifted to Bhadrachalam town for autopsy and later to his native Marturu in Visakhapatnam district for last rites.

The officer said Prasad was killed by Maoists on Wednesday after he lost his way in the forests during an evacuation operation following a gunfight, in which nine Maoists were killed near Puvarti village in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district.

The Maoists had fired on a helicopter evacuating policemen after the gunfight. As the helicopter took off immediately, five commandos missed it.

Four of them retreated in one direction and managed to trek back to the base camp while Prasad retreated in another direction and lost his way. Maoists allegedly captured and killed him.

Anticipating retaliatory attack by Maoists, policemen did not enter the forests to trace the Greyhounds officer. However, an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Friday captured images of the officer’s body.

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