The Day The State Split Asunder-5
The Day The State Split Asunder-5
In ninety minutes, the driver dropped Arjun at the Visakhapatnam Police Guest House. Arjun walked in swiftly to the lobby and the secretary escorted him to the meeting room where the Deputy Inspector General of Police(DIG) of Visakhapatnam city and greyhounds commissioner Acharya were discussing with each other.
'Arjun, we got the information from intelligence sources that the left-wing Citizens Revolution group(CRG) which branched out of the People's War Group is planning to launch an attack on the Chief Minister's public meeting at Galikondapuram. For this, they have scrambled the ten elite members of their wing Mallanna Dalam. We want you to carry out an operation against them,' said Acharya.
'Yes sir! I am ready!' Arjun returned, 'Can I have the map of Visakhapatnam district?'
Acharya took a map from the drawer which is present in the corner of the room and laid it flatly on the table
'Sir, this is Galikondapuram village where the Chief Minister will be addressing the meeting,' Arjun said, circling the point on the map. 'Ten kilometres North from this place, we have this dense forest extending into the Andhra-Orissa border. Midway between Galikondapuram village and the forest, there is this tiny village Alluripet with a population of only two hundred people. And this Mallanna Dalam has a unique style in their execution and they are known for their perfect and accurate planning. First, they make a thorough survey around their target places, then they hide their weapons in the dump which they usually do at night. Ever since our greyhound's forces started demolishing their dumps they are now hiding it in the villages and are setting up the innocent villagers as informers by offering money, bikes and mobile phones. I believe it's better to start from this village as this is the only connecting link between the forest and the addressing area.'
'I suspect their primary target is not the Chief Minister but also the higher police officials who would be present over there on duty. Last month a big encounter happened in Orissa in which the police killed twenty-five of their group members. This can be their revenge operation against the police,' DIG expressed.
'It can be. The possibility cannot be ruled out,' said Acharya, 'Why don't you order for the area to be cordoned?'
'That is not going to help Mr.Acharya. It may also be a part of their ambush operation to kill our policemen on a large scale,' the DIG replied.
'Sir, I am ready for this operation,' Arjun said. 'But, I can assure success only if you give me the freedom to choose my own team.'
'Certainly Arjun,' said the DIG, 'our first mission is to capture them alive, if the situation seems to spin out of control, then only open the fire.'
'Yes Sir!' Arjun nodded.
'Remember one thing, we are not supposed to take any chances. If you couldn't find anything in Alluripet then please do inform us as soon as possible. As per Plan-B, we will deploy a police platoon and cordon off the entire Galikondapuram village,' the DIG said.
Arjun and Acharya then sat together and finalised the personnel to be included in the operation. By 10:00 AM everyone gathered in the training ground. The greyhound's weaponry unit dispatched the most advanced guns, pistols, smoke grenades and Bluetooth communication equipment.
The team of ten all dressed in neat formal clothing got into a vehicle and began their journey towards the village. There is a small railway station near that village and only one passenger train stops there.
'Listen to me carefully!' Arjun began addressing his team, 'Myself, Sudhakar, Nagesh and Praveen will go to the village. As per our plan, we first need to identify their arms dump and informers. If all ten of us go at a time. They might get suspicious. They should not know that we are police. Understand?'
'Yes sir!' everyone shouted in unison.
'If we couldn't find the dump, then as per plan-B we will be moving to Galikondapuram. In case we found it, you people will come only at night. I will inform you when to come and till then you people will be at the railway station. The DIG already had a word with the station master and he has arranged everything for us.'
Arjun, Sudhakar and the remaining two began walking towards the village holding two bags containing their arms and other equipment. From the distance, they were able to see around four hundred thatched huts. The land elevation is completely uneven and the village township was centred around a temple that wasn't completely constructed.
As they entered the village they were confronted by an elderly man in his mid-seventies dressed in a white dhoti and white shirt with dark skin and dishevelled hair and beard. A young man in his mid-twenties stood beside him and stared at them suspiciously. There was no shirt on his top and was fidgeting with a mobile in his hand.
'Who are you?' asked the elderly man politely.
'We are tourists!' said Arjun, 'we are on our way to Araku valley but unfortunately the car in which we are travelling developed a technical problem. We missed the train to the city and we can now catch it only tomorrow. We came here in search of a hotel.'
'A hotel here?' The old man laughed. 'I am afraid whether you will feel good resting under the tree.'
'No issues, we can adjust,' said Sudhakar, 'We managed marvellously in the forest, this place is like a mansion to us.'
Arjun stamped Sudhakar's feet.
'Ouch…' groaned Sudhakar.
'What forest?' asked the old man with his eyes wide open.
'I mean he is saying there's a beautiful forest five kilometres from here, we thought of going there for a trek if it's possible.'
'Yes! I love the forest! I love mother nature and animals!' said Sudhakar.
'The forest is his birthplace,' said Arjun with a smile and turning his face towards the old man he said, 'We can manage to sleep outdoors. If you don't mind, can we rest in that temple?' Arjun asked, pointing his finger towards the temple.
'No worries. You can rest there. That temple's construction hasn't been completed. We will arrange food for all four of you,' said the old man. 'And the forest which you're talking about is extremely dangerous. Last week a leopard came here and killed a cow.'
'We won't go there,' Arjun nodded and then his eyes fell on the mobile in the young man's hand who stood beside the old man. Deep in his mind, a million suspicions emerged but he remained quiet.
All four then reached the top floor of the temple. The inner sanctum has no idol erected and there was a groove inside large enough to hide their bags. Beside the temple, there is a dry haystack.
'Sudhakar, that young man beside the old man, is the informer,' said Arjun with an air of confidence.
'How did you know that?'
'Have you seen the mobile in his hand? It is a 'China' mobile, the same type that members of citizens' revolution groups use as they won't have any IMEI number. Moreover, those mobile phones are banned and not sold in any of the mobile shops in India,' and turning towards Nagesh, he said. 'Nagesh you go out and be with that young man. Just be with him for the complete day and don't give any room for him to speculate. Try to pull out all his details as we normally do in our investigation. Be careful, he should not know that you are a police officer.'
'Don't worry sir! I will deal with him,' Nagesh replied and went out.
'Praveen!' Arjun continued, 'you remain here in this temple. Sudhakar and I will go down and make a quick survey around the village. Don't let anyone come here.'
Arjun and Sudhakar walked out of the sanctum and gazed around at the entire village from that top floor.
'Sudhakar, the members of Mallanna Dalam are experts in performing stealthy attacks. If we are compelled to combat, I will remain on this floor. I can hit the targets precisely from here,' Arjun said.
'First, we need to identify their arms dump. Where can they probably hide their weapons?' Sudhakar asked.
'Let's recce the place. Make note of the entry and the exit points into this village,' Arjun said while descending the steps.
'Wow! See Sudhakar how beautiful those hills are,' Arjun exclaimed pointing towards the hills in the distance as they were passing through the houses to create a false impression around people who were observing them as they passed.
On the way, they saw Nagesh playing Kabaddi along with a dozen teenagers on a small open ground. Arjun's suspect was also playing in the group. Nagesh succeeded in distracting him. Now they need to find the dump as soon as possible. The huts were so small that there was only one room and the cooking was done outside in their traditional tribal style with firewood and mud stoves.
As they advanced further, they happened to see a well at the end of the line beyond which the area opened into a vast stretch of tall tree plantations. There were four coconut trees around along with a big mango tree. They approached the well and gazed into it. It was filled with water. Mango and coconut leaves and various other leaves floating upon it.
'Sudhakar, do you believe in wishing well,' Arjun asked Sudhakar.
'No! Why are you asking me that?'
'Nothing in my childhood, I read a story about wishing well. If we throw a coin into it, it will fulfil our wish.'
'Is it? Let's give it a try,' Sudhakar drove his hands into his pocket. 'I don't have any coins in my pocket.'
'I will test my luck with this stone,' Arjun picked up a big stone beside it and threw it into the well. He heard a metallic clink sound.
'Did you listen to the sound?' asked Arjun with his eyes beaming with pleasure, 'Looks like the wishing well is not a fantasy?' He then picked up another big stone and threw it into the well.
The massive stone thrown by Arjun splashed prodigiously into the well, creating the ripples, pushing the leaves and mosses to the ends of the walls, forcing the blue coloured waterproof boxes to come into visibility for three seconds and were once again swallowed by the murky waters.
'Huh Ah!' Arjun laughed vigorously. 'Did you see those boxes? This well indeed fulfilled our wish.'
'So no need for Plan-B. I presume they will come here tonight to collect their weapons. Let's seize them as soon as they come here,' said Sudhakar.
'Capturing them is not as easy as you think. They are tactical guerilla fighters. One wrong manoeuvre can land the fate of our entire team in jeopardy. Did you forget what happened while we were combing the Karimnagar agency area? How cleverly they ambushed and attacked us?'
'How can I forget? It is still fresh in my mind. It was a consequence of inaccurate planning.'
Arjun grabbed a small stick from the nearby ruined house, kneeled, and drew a big rectangle on the sand, representing the vague map of the settlement. He picked three small pebbles and placed them at three points representing the three entrances to the village.
'Sudhakar, there are four entry points into this village. The forest is in the south. We entered from the west and this road where we are standing is the entrance from the east. We can rule out their entry into this village from the north and west as it consumes a lot of time to circle and reach over here.'
'In that case, then the only option for the intruders is to come through these three points south, east and west. Shall we divide the team into groups of three and scramble at these points?'
'Don't hurry,' he picked up another good-sized stone and placed it at the centre of the sand map. 'This big stone at the centre is the temple, from here I can have the perfect view of anyone who comes in and out.'
'But you won't be able to take in the view of this east side, the big toddy and coconut trees will block your view.'
'Good observation!' Arjun patted Sudhakar, 'You will be here to supervise the team. I will be on the first floor of the temple. Let us inform the team to fire the warning gun in case anything goes wrong. Let's hope there won't be anything to do with our guns.'
They both reviewed for an hour, weighing all the possibilities. Later, Arjun got into the temple, drew out his walkie-talkie from his bag and summoned the entire team to come into the village after 07:30.
Arjun then loaded the cartridges into his AK-47 gun and surveyed the surroundings from the top floor. The tall trees blocked the view of the eastern side and there is no way he can get any advantage over that point.
'Sir!' Nagesh came running towards Arjun. His dress was completely soaked with sweat. 'The name of the suspected informer is Ganganna. He is only nineteen years old and his parents are daily wage labourers who work at coffee plantations near Lambasingi. With the kind of wages, they are receiving it is difficult for them to feed a family of five and affording to purchase a mobile phone is completely out of thought. He never attended any schooling and can't read and write. He doesn't even know how to save contacts on his mobile.'
'What does this Ganganna do?'
'He doesn't do anything, sir. But he is really very innocent. I managed to check his call log and found that he received two calls in the morning and there were no outgoing calls from his mobile.'
'Did you try to ask where he purchased that mobile?'
'No sir! I thought it's better not to ask anything more as he might get doubtful.'
'Good job! Let's see what happens tonight.'