Karnataka police arrest senior Naxal leader Padmanabh

      In a major success for anti Naxal operations in Karnataka, police have arrested senior Maoist leader Nilaguli Padmanabh in Shimoga District. Police suspect Padmanabh’s involvement in Mattavu land mine blast in 2004, which was carried out under the guidance of Andhra Pradesh Naxal leader Sudhakar Reddy. Over ten policemen were critically injured when their vehicle was blown up in Mattavu forests area in Karkala Taluk of Udupi District. Karnataka Police had announced an award of Rs five lakh for the information on Padmanabh. Padmanabh was considered as one of the staunch followers of slain Naxal leader Saket Rajan. In 2005, he had a narrow escape during an encounter at Barkana in Shimoga District and was also reportedly critically injured in the incident. Padmanabh who hailed from Somalapur village in Chikkamagalur District is belongs to Okkaliga community. He also holds a postgraduate degree from the Kuvempu University. He was earlier working as the General Secretary of the Kuduremukh National Forest Virodhi Horata Samiti, (a movement to oppose formation of Kuduremukh National Forest), was drawn towards the Naxal ideology after coming in contact with Saket Rajan. Padmanabh was also one of the founders of the Karnataka Vimochana Ranga (Karnataka Liberation Front), which for many years worked as the frontal organization for Maoists activities in the state. He was also a team member of the CPI (Maoists), which studied the tribal of Western Ghats and prepared a report—Socio Economic Condition of Malnad Area (SoCoMA), which worked as a road map for their expansion in the region. Padmanabh was known for his organizational skills among the Naxal ranks and contributed considerably for expansion of the Maoists ideology among villagers in the Malnad region of the state. With the arrest of Padmanabh the Maoists activities are on the verge of coming to an end and people of Malnad can foresee peaceful days.

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