Kishenji may have been betrayed by his men
In what could be described as a huge blow to the outlawed CPI (Maoist), their senior leader and mouthpiece Mallojula Koteshvar Rao alias Kishenji is believed to be killed in Jamboni's Burisole area of West Midnapore district of West Bengal.
"Most likely it's him (Kishenji), our forces were tailing him continuously. But we have told our men to be 100 % sure. We've rushed latest pictures of Kishenji to the spot for verification," said union home secretary RK Singh in Delhi.
Sources in the security establishment claimed the 59-year-old was betrayed by cadres of the People's Liberation Guerilla Army of the CPI (Maoist) who gave away his whereabouts to the security forces.
Reports reaching from West Midnapore, quoting Gangeswar Singh, IG Western Range, confirmed Kishenji was killed after a 30-minute-gunfight during a joint operation of state police and CoBRA (special anti-Maoist force of Central Reserve Police Force) that were regularly tailing him.
Suchitra Mahato, a senior state level functionary of the CPI (Maoist), was also injured seriously in the gunfight but police were yet to find her.
"Night lights, cameras were put on in the entire area, leaving nothing to chances," a top official said. Sources told DNA that fearing backlash, huge number of security and intelligence personnel have been deployed in and around the area. A red alert has also been issued.
Kishenji was a senior member of the politburo and in-charge of Bengal region (including Bihar and Jharkhand) of CPI (Maoist). To morph identity he was known by several aliases such as Prahlad, Murli, Ramji, Shridhar, Vimal, Pradeep and Jayant Da. In the past, he was also the in-charge of Delhi region.
During the regime of CPM in West Bengal, he led several struggles and was also believed to be one of the architects of Singur and Nandigram stand offs against the government and also said to behind derailment of Jnaneshwari express.
He was also one of the key persons responsible for the merger of People's War Groupwith Maoist Communist Centre and Party Unity that resulted in the formation of a formidable CPI (Maoist).
Till late last year, Kishenji was operating from the forested areas of Jhargram, Junglemahal and Saranada in Jharkhand but decisive action by the security forces forced him to go into hiding and once in an encounter he was even hit in the leg and forced into retirement," said senior home ministry sources.
Believed to be carrying an AK-47, Kishenji was wanted by Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh governments which had put a reward of Rs12 lakh and Rs7 lakh respectively on him. He hailed from Peddapally in Karim Nagar district of Andhra Pradesh and was known to be sharp student before turning a Maoist.
The paramilitary forces which conducted the raid and operation also recovered one AK-47 from the spot. During the battle he was with his trusted lieutenants, including Suchitra Mahato.A former police officer, Rajat Mazumdar said, "The operation proves how successful administration has been in isolating Maoist from local men, like who would supply food and other essential things."
Hunt on for Maoist woman leader Suchitra Mahato
Place: Kolkata | Agency: PTI
A day after gunning down Maoist topgun Kishenji in an encounter, joint security forces were today intensively combing the Burisole forest area of West Midnapore district in search of Maoist woman leader Suchitra Mahato and some other associates of the slain ultra.
Suchitra, who was accompanying Kishenji, had fled after the encounter along with some other associates and is believed to be hiding inside the forest. Suchitra and the other ultras are also believed to be seriously injured, reports reaching here said.
Meanwhile, Kishenji's body has been taken to a morgue at Jhargram Hospital under strict security, the reports said.
The joint forces recovered one AK 47 and one AK-M rifle from the spot where the body was found after the encounter. A black bag, a hearing aid used by Kishenji and a jerry can were also found, the reports said.
The entire area was cordoned off by the combined forces who are combing the forest after a brief break last night.
Police said the CRPF DG was likely to visit the spot today. West Bengal DGP N Mukherjee would also reach the area today.
The reports said the police might contact Kishenji's family at Peddapalli town in Karimnagar district of Andhra Pradesh.
A red alert has been issued all over the state to thwart any retaliatory action by the ultras in wake of Kishenji's killing.
The joint forces killed 58-year-old Mollajulla Koteswar Rao alias Kishenji in a fierce gunbattle in junglemahal at Burisole forest yesterday.
Kishenji, a Maoist politburo member ranking third in the Maoist hierarchy had led the armed operations in junglemahal since 2009.
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