Appearances can be deceptive. He is short, dark-complexioned, a college dropout -- and also the mastermind behind the deadliest Naxal attack that killed 75 Central Reserve Police Force men in Chhatisgarh on Tuesday.
Fifty-three-year-old Katakam Sudarshan, a recluse as many other Maoist leaders, has emerged to be one of the most powerful and most wanted Maoist leaders in the country.
Like the shadowy chief of the organisation Muppala Lakshman alias Ganapathy and senior Maoist leader M Koteshwara Rao alias Kishanji, Sudarshan too hails from Telangana region from Andhra Pradesh who started from the grassroots and rose to the top position of being a central committee member.
Known as a master strategist, Sudarshan heads a unit of the People's Guerrilla Army and is also the member of the powerful Central Military Commission of the organisation, which has planned and approved major attacks, including the assassination attempt on former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu.
Sudarshan, who has a long list of aliases including Mohan and Brinderji, is also the head of one of the several regional CPI-Maoist bureaus.
Hailing from the coal belt town of Bellamaplly in Adilabad district, Sudarshan dropped out of a polytechnic in Warangal district in late 70s and joined the Radical Students Union. He went on to become an active member of the underground People's War Group, a forerunner to the CPI Maoist group.
Long before joining the Maoist group, Sudarshan was already wanted in many petty crimes in his local area. According to a dossier filed with the special investigation bureau of the Andhra Pradesh police, Sudarshan carries a reward of Rs 12 lakh and has been accused in 17 cases including looting and murder in his home state.
Apart from the re-emergence of Sudarshan, the Dantewada massacre has also revealed the active role played by Naxal leaders of Andhra Pradesh in Maoist operations especially in West Bengal, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh.
Another top leader and CPI Maoist central committee member Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad too hails from Telangana and was based in Bastar region -- a liberated zone in Maoist lexicon. Rajkumar is also said to be back in action after going underground for a few days.
Many of the Naxal leaders, including the former secretary of Andhra Pradesh state committee Ramakrishna, were forced to take shelter in safe zones outside Andhra Pradesh after the state police went all out against them following the failure of the peace talks.Many Naxal leaders from Andhra had been killed during the raids, most recent being Shakamuri Appa Rao, who was working with intelligence wing of the organisation.