June 25, 2009 12:09:39 am
Since the forces started their Lalgarh operations to free areas from Maoist control,there has been no news of top Maoist leader Mallojula Koteswara Rao,alias Kishanji. The man heading the Maoist movement against the government in Lalgarh no longer gave interviews to media with a cloth draped around his face as he did in the days leading to the operation. There have been reports that he may have crossed the border to Bangladesh,but the West Bengal police are not confirming it yet.
The 60-year-old Rao,a politburo member of banned rebel outfit CPI(Maoist),is currently in charge of rebel operations in West Bengal,Orissa and Jharkhand.
An activist of the CPI-ML (Peoples War) before the formation of the CPI (Maoist),Rao moved to Kolkata about 18 years ago after serving in the Peoples War as a state committee secretary in Andhra Pradesh. He moves under various aliases including Murali,Pradip,Vimal and Prahlad apart from the more famous Kishanji.
Rao was born in Nachpalli in Karminagar district of Andhra Pradesh. His father was a member of the Congress Socialist Party. Like many Maoist leaders,he hardly visited his poor parents after joining the movement as a youngster along with his brother Venugopal Rao. His mother,Madhuramma,who now lives in Peddapalli,says she saw him last in 1994. He did not even attend his fathers funeral in 1984.
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Rao joined the Maoists in 1977 while his brother joined the movement three years later. By that time,he had gained quite a reputation in Peddapalli,organising mass protests and agitations in favour of a separate Telangana state.
He was first arrested for burning a Government bus and Government property outside his school in 1969. In a letter to his mother that was published in a local newspaper recently,Rao confessed that he decided to join the Maoists after he witnessed police firing outside his school.
Quickly rising in the ranks,Rao was made the state committee secretary and was later given the charge of West Bengal,Jharkhand and Orissa.
Moving in the forests on the Andhra-Orissa border,he learnt the strategy of guerilla warfare but after he moved to West Bengal,he changed himself. He propounded and put into practice the theory of converting mass protests into violent agitations against the Government,and frequently organised meetings of Maoists in Lalgarh,Palubani and Salboni. He is known to infiltrate agitations and protest meetings,take control of the situation,and convert them into a violent movement, a police official in the know of Maoist operations said.
An Intelligence officer said unlike the usual guerilla attack-and-flee style,Raos strategy was to hold an area under Maoist control for a long period.
Rao is also suspected to have masterminded the landmine attack on the convoy in which West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and the then Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan,were travelling. Both had a narrow escape.
Rao is considered as one of the many fiery leaders from Karimnagar district who joined the Maoist movement. Central committee secretary Ganapathi of Bheerpur village,K Satyanarayana Reddy alias Sadhu alias Gopanna of Gopalraopalli village,Bandarapu Mallaiah alias Chandranna of Machupeta village,Tippiri Tirupati alias Sanjeevi of Korutla town are the other top Maoist leaders from the district.
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