Rebel poet Gaddar has been carrying a bullet in his spine for 20 long years, terming it as a “symbol of state repression” that cannot be shrugged off. However, now that he is a stone’s throw away from 70, the piece of metal is causing him more pain than ever before.
Gaddar, founder of the Jana Natya Mandali (the cultural wing of the erstwhile People’s War Group outfit), has been fighting a long-drawn war against the powers-that-be – first the pre-bifurcation Andhra Pradesh government and now the TRS regime in Telangana.
However, his struggle came at a price. Gaddar was shot by five unknown people at his Venkatapuram residence in Secunderabad on April 6, 1997. He was taken to the Government Gandhi Hospital, where four bullets were removed from his body.
Surgeons at the Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences later tried taking out a fifth bullet that had lodged itself in his spinal cord, but eventually decided against it for fear of medical complications. “Since then, the bullet has remained in my body as a symbol of state repression. It did not trouble me initially, but I the pain has become acute now that I am 68. So, I regularly go to the Nizam’s Institute Of Medical Sciences for treatment,” the poet told Hindustan Times.
Now, Gaddar has decided to float an alternative political force that would represent the “true aspirations” of the Telangana people. “I have realised that the best way to pay tribute to the hundreds of people who laid down their lives for the Telangana cause is to launch a political party. The modalities are being worked out,” he said.
Many people, ranging from the revolutionary poet’s supporters to rights activists and opposition parties, believe the five attackers were backed by the police. However, law enforcement officers claim Gaddar was shot by victims of Maoist atrocities.
“The then Chandrababu Naidu government constituted a special investigation team to probe the assassination attempt. However, after cold-shouldering the issue for nearly a decade, police closed the case during the YS Rajasekhar Reddy regime. No proper reason was cited,” Gaddar said.
He accused the government of relentlessly framing him in false cases. “While the people who tried to kill me move freely in society, I am reduced to running from one police station to another,” he said. “It is particularly hurtful that even the present government – headed by TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao – has filed a case against me in Asifabad district despite knowing that I played a key role in the Telangana movement.”
Gaddar said he has formally severed all links with the Maoist party to enter mainstream electoral politics. “I have no connections with their ideology now. I have enrolled myself as a voter,” he added.
There are indications that Gaddar may join hands with actor-turned-politician Pawan Kalyan to fight the next elections in 2019. Kalyan, who floated the Jana Sena Party before the 2014 elections, had campaigned for the Telugu Desam Party-BJP combine back then.