Surrender of senior Maoist leader Kumarsai, alias Pahadsingh, before the Chhattisgarh Police in August last year has revealed some vital information, including that about a youth from Pune, who went missing in November 2010 and is now suspected to have risen to the ranks of “deputy commander” of the “Tanda Area Committee” of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).
According to the Maharashtra Police record, the youth, identified by Pahadsingh as “Vishwa” is Santosh Vasant Shelar, a resident of Kasewadi slum in Bhavani Peth area of Pune. A “missing person’s report” lodged by Santosh’s family with the Pune City Police on January 10, 2011 stated that he left home on November 7, 2010 saying he was going to Mumbai to work with an exhibition for two months, but did not return thereafter.
The Indian Express first reported on July 9 that a list prepared by the Chhattisgarh Police about “active Maoist operatives in Rajnandgaon district as per situation dated March 25, 2019” mentions “Vishwa, age 28, resident of Pune, Maharashtra” with a photograph alongside of a young man in green uniform, which is characteristic of Maoist guerrillas. The list names “Vishwa” as the “area committee deputy commander” and that he carries a “.303 rifle”.
Pahadsingh’s statement part of police chargesheet
The Pune City Police has recorded Pahadsingh’s statement, which is part of the chargesheet submitted before the court in Elgaar Parishad case. In his statement, Pahadsingh has revealed alleged Maoist activities of accused persons, including P Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreria and others.
‘Vishwa and Madhu brought to jungles in Gadchiroli in 2010’
Speaking to The Indian Express, Pahadsingh said that two youths from Pune — named as “Vishwa” and “Madhu” — allegedly associated with the cultural group Kabir Kala Manch (KKM), which is alleged to be a Maoist front organistion, were first brought to the jungles in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra in 2010 on the instructions of Milind alias Deepak Teltumbde, who is now the Central Committee (CC) member of the CPI-Maoist.
As per police record, “Madhu” is Prashant Jalinder Kamble, a resident of Pune’s Tadiwal Road slums, who had also gone missing with Santosh.
When photographs of Santosh and Prashant were shown to Pahadsingh, who was a member of the Maoist group for 18 years and has worked closely with Teltumbde, he identified them as “Vishwa” and “Madhu”, respectively.
Pahadsingh said, “Real names of cadres are not revealed as part of the strategy. Maoist party gives different names to its cadres. Similarly Vishwa and Madhu are names given to Pune youths by the Maoist party. They came to Gadchiroli in 2010… Later in 2011, Angela Sontakke, who is Teltumbde’s wife, was arrested by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS). She was working in urban areas of Maharashtra. Some of the KKM members, who were indoctrinated by Teltumbde and Angela, went underground… Then, as per the instructions of Teltumbde, a Maoist cadre Arun Bhelke alias Rajan brought the KKM members to Gadchiroli. I had received them from Armori. Then, they were trained in the jungles for about five to six months. They were also given arms training. They performed various tasks given by the Maoist party while residing in jungles. Later, they were sent back…We got to know that they surrendered by staging Satyagraha in Mumbai in 2013… After Angela’s arrest, Arun Bhelke and his wife Kanchan Nanavare alias Bhoomi were asked to work in urban areas. They were also arrested (from Pune) in 2014. Both were members of Deshbhakti Yuva Manch (DYM), a Maoist front organisation in Chandrapur.”
Pahadsingh, who is now residing in Rajnandgaon, further said: “Madhu is considered very useful for the Maoist party because of his technical skills in repairing electronic items like computers, printers. He was also sent out of jungles for party work… Vishwa uses his art of painting for the Maoists effectively. Besides, he is an armed cadre who worked in Gadchiroli earlier. He has also worked as Teltumbde’s guard and is now part of the Tanda Area Committee.”
Maoists form ‘Chhadm sanghatan’ for urban work
Pahadsingh said the strategy of the CPI-Maoist is to form “Chhadm sanghatan” (pseudo front organisations) with different names to penetrate into different sections of the society. “KKM and DYM are such front organisations operated by the Maoist party… Operatives of the front outfits attract youths by speaking about thoughts of revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh, but later they indoctrinate these youths to join the Maoist movement. The ultimate aim behind it is to form urban militia, which can create severe problems for the government,” he said.
It may be recalled that in mid 2011, Santosh Shelar and Prashant Kamble were booked by the state ATS along with 14 persons, including Angela Sontakke and some KKM artists, under sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), for allegedly working for the CPI-Maoist.
Angela was arrested from Thane, while she had taken a house on rent in Pune’s Paud area from where she operated along with her accomplices. In its chargesheet, the ATS alleged that KKM members participated in arms trainings with about 150 Naxals in jungle areas of Gadchiroli, between November 2011 and April 2012, while they were on the run.
However, while Teltumbde, Shelar and Kamble are absconding, all those who were arrested by the ATS, including Angela and KKM members, were later released on bail by different courts. They claimed that they were framed by the police.
Statement recorded in Elgaar Parishad case
Meanwhile, the KKM artists, who were released on bail, were active in organising the Elgaar Parishad at the Shaniwar Wada in Pune on December 31, 2017, ahead of the 200th commemoration of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon.
These KKM artists and wanted accused Milind Teltumbde are among the 23 persons booked by the Pune City Police in connection with the Elgaar Parishad case under sections of the IPC and UAPA for their alleged links with the banned CPI-Maoist.
But the KKM artists have claimed that the police lodged a false case against them for shielding the Hindutva leaders booked by the Pune Rural Police in Koregaon Bhima violence case.