Lalvrat Kol, a Naxal commander jailed on charges of killing several policemen in UP, Bihar and Jharkhand, is contesting the Sonbhadra seat for the Quami Ekta Dal, the party of jailed mafia don Mukhtar Ansari.
His seat is Sonbhadra, the district he hails from, and from where he was arrested in 2012. Kol, 42, is lodged in Varanasi central jail.
Afzal Ansari, Mukhtar’s brother and national president of the Quami Ekta Dal, confirmed the party has fielded Kol from Sonbhadra and gave the reason — the party wants to bring “people who have lost their way” into the mainstream.
Quami Ekta Dal workers have started campaigning for Kol in the constituency, party vice-president Atahar Jamal Lari said. Sonbhadra goes to polls May 12.
Hailing from Sonbhadra’s Jhariyava village, Kol, as per police records, was the pioneer of the Naxal movement in UP, launching it in districts such as Sonbhadra, Mirzapur and Chandauli.
“Two sisters of Lalvrat Kol, Pushpa and Kiran, too are lodged in jail for being associated with Naxal groups,” conceded Basmati Kol, Lalvrat’s cousin and also a member of the UP State Women’s Commission. She said Kol and his wife Gyan Devi have three children, the youngest a boy of nine. The family lives at Machigawa village in Sonbhadra. “All relatives are in the campaign. Meetings are being held seeking support for him,” said Basmati.
Kol, who carried a reward of Rs 1 lakh on his head, was arrested by Sonbhadra police following an encounter in Chopan area on May 29, 2012. Police claimed then that he was associated with the Songanga Vindhya Zonal Committee, which operates in the border areas of UP, Bihar and Jharkhand.
Kol, who was initially sent to Mirzapur district jail, was shifted to Varanasi central jail last year on administrative grounds.
Kol’s lawyer Roshan Yadav said around 40 criminal cases are pending against him in districts such as Chandauli, Mirzapur and Sonbhadra and also in Jharkhand and Bihar.
He admitted that Kol is accused of masterminding the attack on a PAC truck in Chandauli district in 2004, in which 16 policemen were killed. Kol is also accused of leading the Naxal group that had attacked a PAC camp in Mirzapur and looted it of over a dozen self-loading rifles. Another case he faces is for leading a Naxal group that had triggered explosion at a forest office in Chandauli, killing three forest guards.