Commando's body lay in open for 3 days, till a journo fetched it

FPThe spot where the body of the commando was found. Ganesh Mishra

G V Prasad, a reserve inspector with the Greyhounds, the elite anti-Maoist force of Andhra Pradesh, went missing after the April 16 operation in which nine Maoists were killed in Puwarti village of Sukma district. Three days later, a journalist found his body near a pond in Kawargatta village, about 90 km from Bijapur district headquarters. When he informed the Andhra police, they reportedly asked him to retrieve the body. And he did.

Following the encounter, there were rumours that Prasad had been abducted by Maoists. On the morning of April 19, Ganesh Mishra, the Bijapur-based correspondent of Hindi daily Navbharat, decided to travel through the interior forests to gauge the actual situation. He and another journalist set off on a motorcycle, riding through the forest for hours, before locating the body.

Mishra clicked photographs, spoke to villagers, tried to secure the place, and then left for Bhadrachalam, in Khammam, Andhra Pradesh. He informed top police officials there. But instead of making efforts to retrieve the body, the officials reportedly asked him to do the job.

"The Andhra Police asked me to go and retrieve the body. They probably thought that the Maoists may attack them if they went inside the area. Since his relatives also requested me, I decided to undertake the task on humanitarian grounds," said Mishra.

So the next morning, Mishra again set off on his motorcycle. On reaching Kawargatta, he loaded the body in a tractor which the police had arranged.

"He did a wonderful job. He was the one to confirm the location of the body, we were not sure about it," said Khammam SP A V Ranganath.

Admitting that they had "entered into negotiation with Mishra and asked him to go again", Ranganath added, "If needed, we would have launched an operation to retrieve the body. It was just a tactical decision considering the nature of guerrila war."

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