HOMAGE TO A GREAT SON OF THE PEOPLE - KISHANJI
A deserted street in Peddapalli, the hometown of slain Maoist leader Kishenji on Saturday. Kishenji was cremated in Peddapalli on Sunday. Photo : The Hindu
|Poet & Civil Liberties leader Varavara Rao addresses activists in Kolkata.|
|The dead body of Kishanji being handed over to his family members & poet Varvara Rao|
An ambulance carrying the body of Kishenji's body being sent to Peddpally village in Karimnagar district on Saturday. PHOTO: G RAMAKRISHNA
Balladeer Gaddar pays tributes to slain Maoist leader Kishenji in Peddapalli, Karimnagar district on Sunday. Photo: Thakur Ajay Pal Singh
|Police & para-military forces Jangal Mahal area after the alleged encounter killing of Kishanji|
Kishanji's mother Madhuramma in grief after her son Kishenji's death, in Peddapalli town of Karimnagar district on Friday.
Mallojula Koteswara Rao alias Kishenji, the senior Maoist leader was cremated at his native Peddapalli, some 35 km from Karimnagar. His elder brother Anjaneyulu lit the funeral pyre. Abhay, the spokesperson of the Maoist Central Committee released a letter which was read out by the revolutionary writer Varavara Rao, in which it was alleged that Kishenji was murdered in a fake encounter. The Communist Party of India (Maoist) called for a two-day Bharat bandh on December 4 and 5, 2011 in protest of the encounter.
Earlier many villagers, political leaders, including ballad Singer Gaddar, Civil Liberties Committee leaders Mr. Varavara Rao, Kalyan Rao, Telangana Rashtra Samithi MLAs Etela Rajender, Koppula Eeshwar, MLC N. Laxman Rao were among those participated in the funeral procession.
Kishenji’s body was brought to Peddapalli from Kolkata in the wee hours of Sunday and kept at his residence after the local police denied permission to his family members to keep the body for public viewing at the Junior College ground. While large number of activists from different peoples' organizations assembled at the airport to receive the body, the police deployed several teams at the arrival lounge to prevent them.
The moment poet Vara Vara Rao and Padma Kumari of Martyrs United Forum, who came along with the body from Kolkata, entered the arrival lounge; the police rounded up them and seized their mobile phones. They did not allow anyone, including the media persons, to come even close to the arrival lounge. Balladeer Gaddar entered into an argument with the policemen as he was not allowed to go inside. “If some Congress leader dies, his body is taken to Gandhi Bhavan. We want to take the body to Tank Bund to pay homage. How can you deny this?” he said.
Earlier Varavara Rao on Sunday dubbed Maoist leader Kishenji’s encounter as a “political murder”, saying, “Kishenji’s encounter is part of operation green hunt and the government should stop combing in the name of the operation. His (Kishenji’s) encounter was a political murder,”
Mr. Rao's suspicion was that Kishenji had been taken into police custody on Wednesday itself, tortured and later killed in a fake encounter. First media reports suggested that Kishenji and his comrades had been encircled by a thousand paramilitary forces, but it was announced that he had managed to escape.
“If he had managed to escape to Jharkhand, how did the West Bengal government kill him? How did the joint security forces kill him in Paschim Medinipur district,” Mr. Rao asked.
He also alleged that signs of torture were visible on Kishenji's body and said that he suspected that Kishenji was “severely tortured” in police custody.
In a press statement issued by the Co-ordination of Democratic Rights Organizations (CDRO), representing 27 Democratic Rights Organizations, it has been stated that:
“We strongly condemn the killing of Mallojula Koteswara Rao alias Kishenji, politbureau member of the CPI(Maoist) at Burisole forest near Jhargram in West Bengal on 24th November 2011. It is being claimed by the West Bengal police and the CRPF authorities that Kishenji has been killed in a “30 minute gunbattle” near Khushboni village in Burisole forests of West Midnapur district, while some other members of the Maoist squad escaped. However, this version of the police is riddled with contradictions, and also accounts from villagers in nearby villages strongly suggest that Kishenji has been killed in a fake encounter. According to local reports, Kishenji was captured during an operation by the joint forces in the area on 23rd November, and killed in cold blood on 24th November during a staged gun battle.”
B D Sharma (Former National Commissioner for Scheduled Castes and Tribes) and G N Saibaba (Deputy Secretary, Revolutionary Democratic Front), said in a Press statement:
“We strongly condemn the cold-blooded murder and planned assassination of Kishanji alias Mallojula Koteswara Rao, Politburo Member of CPI (Maoist) in Burishol forest area, Paschim Midnapore District, Jangalmahal, West Bengal on 24 November 2011. At the time of this murder Kishanji was dealing with the process of peace talks through the interlocutors appointed by the Chief Minister of West Bengal Ms. Mamata Banerjee. Such a heinous crime should be condemned by all justice loving people.”
An other human rights organization MASUM, CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta & Swami Agnivesh has also condemned the killing of Kishenji in a fake encounter and demanded a proper inquiry.
C. P. I. (Maoist) Polit Bureau member Koteshwara Rao, more famous as Kishenji, was leading the peoples struggle in the forests of Jangal Mahal region, but was equally adept as the spokesperson for the cause. He will perhaps be best remembered since the occasion he released Atindranath Dutta, officer in charge of the Sankrail police station, who was abducted in an audacious attack in October 2009, in exchange for bail for 14 tribal women.
Kishenji, born Oct 10, 1953, in a village in Andhra Pradesh, was among the founders of the People's War Group there in 1980. It was in 1974 that he joined the Radical Students Union. Four years later, he went into hiding. His organizational skills and devotion to the peoples cause impressed People's War Group (PWG) founder Kondapalli Seetaramayya and he was chosen to be PWG state secretary. He was a prime target of joint-security operations against Maoists.
Gloom descended on his home town. Since morning on Friday, hordes of supporters and relatives have arrived at his ancestral house in the narrow Brahmanaveedhi, a small street, to console the bereaved family members, including mother Madhuramma and elder brother Anjaneyulu.
Madhuramma, in her 80s, was in a state of shock over the death of her son ‘Koti.' Initially, family members decided against breaking the news to her. But when people and journalists started coming in droves, they had no alternative except informing her. She collapsed on hearing the news but controlled her emotions. “I thought you would wipe away the tears from the eyes of several mothers by staying away from us. But this is a big shock to me, as I have not seen him for the last 33 years after he left home,” said Madhuramma. The family had not seen him for over three decades.
Madhuramma’s. younger son, Mallujola Venugopal Rao, has also gone underground for the past three decades. He is now a Central Committee member of the CPI (Maoist).
Advisor, Lok Morcha Punjab
Advisor, Lok Morcha Punjab