An account of a fortnight-old encounter that brought two siblings face-to-face during an anti-Maoist operation has come to light now. The cop brother and his Maoist sister exchanged fire before the latter escaped into the forests of the Maoist affected Sukma region in Chhatisgarh.
The 'Rakhi' timing of the story released apparently at the instance of the police, makes it seem apocryphal initially. But the Superintendent of Police (SP) at Sukma, Shalabh Sinha, confirmed that the encounter between assistant constable Vetti Rama, who is a Maoist-turned-policeman, and his Maoist sister Vetti Kanni, had indeed taken place on July 29.
Rama was part of the police party that reached the Maoist-active spot of Balkatong on a lead provided by the informers. His sister, on the other hand, was in Maoist uniform with a group roaming in the same region.
The police were alerted about a large group of Maoists having gathered at the spot for musketry training. The sound of gunfire was echoing in the forest since morning. On the arrival of the police, a gunfight ensued. Two Maoists were killed in the encounter.
As per the information provided by the police, Rama was the police guide for his team when the encounter broke out. During the encounter, one of his companions told him that his sister Kanni was around. As soon as Rama spotted her, she hid behind the bushes. Rama shouted for her, but she responded with gun shots. They were less than 200 metres apart. Rama too fired at the group, but Kanni managed to escape.
Both siblings used to live in Gaganpalli village in the forest area. The Maoists picked them up when they were under 10 years of age.
After working in the organisation for 23 years, Rama got disillusioned. He surrendered with the arms before the police on October 13, 2018. He carried a reward of Rs 8 lakh over his head. After surrender, he was rehabilitated under the government policy and got the job with the police.
"After Vetti Rama left the Maoist organisation last year, he has been working as an associate with us. Vetti Kanni, Rama's sister, was also present in the Maosist group on July 29. Both came face-to-face there. There was firing from both sides and Kanni escaped," SP Sinha said.
Rama also confirmed that the encounter took place. He said: "Baletong was surrounded by Maoists, including my sister Vetti Kanni. I saw my sister, and firing started from both sides. I had earlier written a letter to my sister requesting her to leave the Maoist organisation and join the mainstream, but she told me that she had no brother. 'Raksha Bandhan' is here again and I appeal to her to join the mainstream."