‘Top Naxals’ are two 15-yr-old toppers
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Marking their first step outside Chhattisgarh, three Class IX boys of Kottaguda village visited Visakhapatnam on an education tour in January. Among the few selected by their school, they were the first students from the south of river Palteru to make the journey. They were awed by the mighty sea and ships in the coastal Andhra town. Two of them instantly dreamt of becoming mariners. The two, Kaka Nagesh and Madkam Ramvilas, were killed by security forces in "the biggest Maoist encounter" last Friday.
"You talk to any teacher, they were among the brightest in our school, always scored first class. I was way below them and now they are gone," says Sandeep Irpa, the third. He was saved by sheer fortune, as he decided to sleep early that night and skipped the village gathering that the forces reportedly mistook to be a Maoist meeting.
It was 15-year-old Nagesh who was described as an important Maoist leader. His teachers and friends laugh. The three lived and studied in a government hostel less than 2 km away in Basaguda.
Ramvilas, also 15, was good at English, says his family. His notebook suggests the same. Even his Sanskrit notebook has a curious note written about the language. "Thee, thou, thy and thine ka prayog adhunik angrezi mein nahin paya jata hain.
Yeh shabd kavita mein ya Ishwar ke liye prayog kiya ja sakte hain. (Thee, thou, thy and thine are not used in modern English. But they can be used for God and in poems.)"
Nagesh, fondly called Rahul at home, was good at Mathematics, his notebooks tell. Being among the few literate people in the village, elders often asked him to do their counting. In fact, on the night of the encounter, they had called him to calculate the amount required per head for a village function. His body had two deep axe marks on the chest and back.
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