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While several stories of brother and sister bonding are doing rounds on the internet before rakshabandhan day, in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh, a story of Maoist sister and cop brother is making waves across the nation.
Vetti Kanni (50) an area committee member of the Maoist group CPI in Konta, looks after the legal support for the Maoists, who are being arrested. She also looks after the rehabilitation of CPI families who died in police encounters. Noticeably, she has an award of Rs 5 lakhs on her head. On the other hand, Vetti Rama (43) is a secret trooper in the Sukma police and also a section commander in the operation to catch Maoists. The common link between both is that they are brother and sister.
According to a report, on the 29th July at 7 am in the morning, a team of 140 police officers surrounded a Maoist camp near a small hill in the jungles of Balengtong of Sukma district. They had been on the secret move all night to catch the troops of CPI which consist of 30 members.
When the team of police squared up with the Maoist team, Kanni and Rama eventually saw each other and as soon as their eyes met, Kanni's team started firing on Rama and his crew upon which the police retaliated. Firing from both the sides continued for a while in which two Maoists got badly injured and Kanni escaped.
"I didn't want to fire at her. I was constrained to do so because, within a few seconds, her guards started firing at my team. Hence I retaliated. Later, after a few minutes, I saw her firing and suddenly she disappeared in the jungle," said Vetti Rama.
Baster district, that borders Telangana, is well-known as a Maoists area. The Maoist's crew entered Baster from the Konta district in the mid-1980s and settled in the region. The Konta district covers around 116 villages. As per the police, around 50 villages of the area come under parallel government (janatana sarkar).
According to Rama's statement, he and his sister Kanni joined the Maoist group in the early 1990s with adults of Gaganpalli village located at NH-30, but things took a turn for the wrong due to the poor movement of the jantana sarkar due to which later, he left the Maoist troop and joined as a police.
"We both joined as bal sangham (child cadre) as we were told that the movement is for the poor of the region. But things have changed now... The present Maoist movement lacks dedication and hence I decided to surrender in 2018. I then got a job in the police and in the next couple of months, I will be promoted to the post of a police constable," said Rama, adding that he had led about 10 big operations for the security forces after surrendering.
Rama, who was once ACM of the Maoist and had an reward of 6.5 lakh, surrendered in August 2018. After he joined the police department, he was promoted as a secret trooper for the police due to his dedication towards the police department.
Chandresh Singh Thakur, a sub-divisional officer of police (SDOP) said, "Both Rama and Vetti were the most influential Maoist leaders of this area. Nearly all recruitment in this area used to be done by them. Hence Rama's induction in police was tactically very important for us". Adding to it, he said, after Vetti Rama surrendered, he conducted some remarkable anti-Maoist operations due to which he received such a higher post in the police department of that area.
After Rama surrendered, he was asked the reason for which he replied, "Even after dedicating two decades of my life to the movement, I was demoted from the post of ACM and later, I was transferred to another division of the CPI (Maoist)... Can you imagine? I had not met my wife for seven years and senior cadres had no respect for my unswerving commitment".
Later, he wrote a letter to Kanni to do the same as he does and live a fear-free and happy life, but she replied back branding Rama as a traitor.
Kanni's letter was dated November 8, 2018 and it read, "Don't ever write to me urging for surrender. I am not in greed of rehabilitation and compensation; I am a revolutionary... You must never think that you will able to save yourself ...You are a traitor".
She also held Rama responsible for weakening the Maoist movement after he betrayed the group and joined the police department.
"Since you [Rama] joined the police force, you are involved in arresting innocent people, torturing them and also in identifying cadres. This betrays your intentions", reveals the letter.
However, on this accord, Chandresh Singh Thakur (SDOP) said, whatever written in the Kanni's letter is wrong and it's just some new propaganda of Maoists. Adding to his statement, Thakur said that he wrote letter to many other cadres and in the response to the letter, one of the top Maoists, Arjun Madkam, surrendered, who was a divisional committee member of the Maoists.
Rama now resides with his wife in Sukma's police accommodation. He says that it's very hard for him to kill his own sister.
"I don't know! I will always try to arrest her or urge her to surrender, but in an encounter anything is possible. I pray to God that it never happens," said teary-eyed Rama.
If we listen to the police of Sukma, it's a very rare instance of a brother and a sister.
"Every time I meet Rama, I ask about his sister and Rama tells me that he is urging her to surrender. I have been posted in this area for a long time but this case of a brother hunting his sister is rare. I believe that he is trying his best to persuade his sister to surrender but unsuccessfully so far," said superintendent of police, Shalabh Sinha.
(inputs from Hindustan Times)