Hyderabad, July 5 (IANS) Former Maoist leader Ganti Prasada Rao alias Prasadam, who was shot at and critically injured by unidentified people in Nellore Thursday, succumbed to his injuries early Friday, police said.
Ganti Prasadam, as he was popularly known, died while undergoing treatment at Narayana Hospital in Nellore town, about 500 km from here. He was 50.
The body was sent for autopsy. His family members said the body would be taken to his native place Bobbili in Srikakulam district, where the last rites will be performed Saturday.
Prasadam was a poet and convenor of the Martyr's Committee of Friends and Relatives, a group representing kin of Maoists killed in shoot-outs with police.
He was released in 2011 along with some other Maoists in exchange for the release of then collector of Odisha's Malkangiri district R.V. Krishna from the ultra's captivity.
Prasadam was attacked with a knife by three unidentified people, who also fired three rounds at him.
Police said the assailants escaped after the attack and the attempts were on to apprehend them.
Prasadam was in Nellore to attend a "Martyrs' Day" meeting of Virasam, an association of revolutionary writers. After attending the meeting he had gone to Nellore hospital to call on an ailing relative of a Maoist. He was attacked soon after he emerged from the hospital.
Virasam leaders Varavara Rao, Kalyan Rao, revolutionary balladeer Gaddar and leaders of various rights' groups have blamed the police for Prasadam's killing. "All the leaders speaking on behalf of people and the revolutionary movement are being eliminated by the state," Kalyan Rao said in Nellore.
Condemning the killing, Gaddar, who had escaped in an assassination attempt 15 years ago, said the people would teach a lesson to the government.
The police, however, have denied the allegations and said they were trying their best to track down the culprits.
Prasadam had taken active part in in the Maoist movement in early 1990s as a leader of then CPI-ML People's War. He later joined the mainstream and floated the Martyrs' Committee to claim the bodies of the Maoists killed in shoot-outs with the police.
Ganti Prasadam, along with some other Maoists, was released from jail in Odisha in 2011 after Maoists had kidnapped Collector Krishna.
The collector was released after nine-days of captivity when the Odisha government met the Maoists' demands that also included the release of Padma, wife of top Maoist leader Ramakrishna and another ultrra, Sriramulu Srinivas.
A native of Bobbili in Vizianagaram district, Ganti Prasadam was arrested by Odisha Police from Visakhapatnam in 2010 a few days after Padma and three others were caught at Similiguda in Koraput district.
Padma was allegedly on her way to meet her husband in Narayanpatna forests. Prasadam was said to have facilitated the visit.
He had been lodged in Koraput jail till Jan 5, 2011 before Andhra Pradesh Police took him to Ongole in connection with the 1997 railway track explosion at Julmaly in Guntur district.
He was brought back to Odisha in February 2011 after Maoists demanded his release. The Odisha High Court had granted him bail.
He was also an accused in various cases including the attack on then Superintendent of Police of Prakasam district, Mahesh Chandra Ladha, in 2005.
He along with five others was an accused in Aurangabad conspiracy case. The police had charged them procuring arms, men and ammunition to wage war against the government of India. In 2010, a court acquitted them for lack of evidence.
Prasadam's brother Ramesh, alias Rajanna, also a Maoist, was killed in a shoot-out with police in 1998.