September 16, 2012

Kishanji met Mamata before polls, says Maoist leader

By Rakhi Chakrabarty, TNN | Sep 16, 2012, 02.52AM IST

NEW DELHI: Maoist leader Kishanji's streak of individualism and defiance hurt the party and led to his killing by the police, said Sushil Roy, ideologue and politburo member of the banned CPI-Maoist. In jail since 2005, Roy is currently undergoing treatment in Delhi's AIIMS hospital.

Speaking exclusively to TOI, 78-year-old Roy said, "He (Kishanji) did not obey party line. He thought he was next to Mao." Koteshwar Rao alias Kishanji was killed last November in Bengal. Ahead of 2011 assembly polls in Bengal, Kishanji had reached out to the Trinamool Congress keeping the CPI-Maoist leadership in the dark.

"The party did not know about his (Kishanji's) meeting with Mamata (Banerjee) before the polls. It was not the party's decision," said Roy, who has been an underground leader since 1967 after the Naxalbari movement, precursor to the Maoists, was launched. He said that indiscriminate killings in Bengal's Jangalmahal by Maoists was wrong.

Caste and regional bias, indiscipline and mobile phones are hurting the Maoists, said Roy. Kishanji, for instance, would call up all kinds of people, including journalists and political leaders. "He also kept in touch with RSP leaders, then party to the ruling Left Front in Bengal, though they never helped us. That was his weakness.

It harmed him," said Roy.

Use of mobile phones has hit the Maoists hard.

Calling Operation Greenhunt barbaric, he said, "The police could not get any of our leaders in a gunbattle. They could not have arrested our leaders had it not been for the use of mobile phones." Due to heavy losses, the Maoists are unlikely to hold the five-yearly party congress this year. "State plenums have been held and preparation is on for the central plenum," added Roy.

Lying in the emergency ward of the AIIMS hospital with his body riddled with catheter and needles, Roy mourned the loss of Maoist spokesperson Azad who was killed in police encounter in Adilabad forests of Andhra Pradesh in 2010. "He was killed in a barbaric manner by the police. His death was a big loss for the party."

Roy, who had declared the formation of the CPI-Maoist following the merger of MCC and PW on September 21, 2004, in the jungles of Chhattisgarh, was brought to AIIMS by the Jharkhand police after his health deteriorated. He was wanted in four cases in Bengal and eight cases in Jharkhand.

"I was supposed to walk out of the prison on August 18 last year, but Jharkhand police invoked the National Security Act and put me back in jail," said Roy suffering from a serious urinary bladder ailment.

He appealed to party leadership to lay down arms, opt for partial ceasefire in West Bengal and Jharkhand and talk to the government. In Chhattisgarh and Bihar though the banned party should continue its fight against the Indian state to keep up the morale of the cadres, he said.

Speaking exclusively to TOI, Roy said, "A large number of our comrades were killed or arrested in Bengal and Jharkhand. The party is in a bad shape. Many opportunists split from the party and formed outfits, especially, in Jharkhand.

The ceasefire would benefit the party and help in release of cadres from jail."

He had discussed ceasefire with Narayan Sanyal, senior Maoist politburo member lodged in Hazaribagh jail. "About two-and-a-half months ago, we wrote to the party from jail proposing ceasefire. I don't know if the letter reached them," Roy said.

He was not sure though if the government would accept the Maoist offer of a ceasefire. "The state wants Maoists to adopt ceasefire as a policy. That would mean surrender and death of revolution," said Roy. He wanted Maoists to offer tactical ceasefire.

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