Armed with just a photo, Bengal cops hunt for Kishenji's successor

  • Snigdhendu Bhattacharya, Hindustan Times, Kolkata
  • Updated: Aug 18, 2015 14:04 IST
Anal da, a member of the Eastern Regional Bureau (ERB) of CPI(Maoist), carries a reward of Rs 25 lakh on his head declared by Jharkhand government. (HT Photo)

West Bengal police have launched a hunt to capture senior CPI(Maoist) leader Anal da, who has stepped into the shoes of Kishenji to lead the revival of the rebels in the state, armed with just a photograph.

Intelligence officers told Hindustan Times that Anal da's photograph, where only the right side of his face is visible, is just about a year old and he looks more or less the same as he appears in it. The Maoist leader is dark, well built with a moustache and curly hair, they said.

Hindustan Times has a copy of the photograph.

It was taken about a year back during a programme in Jharkhand where Anal da was offering tribute to a martyr's column. Clicked during the night, it shows Anal da's side profile clearly. It looks like the Maoist leader was unaware of the fact that someone was photographing him.

It is the only photo that the security forces have and though it is a recent one, the biggest handicap for them is that it does not show his front face and most importantly, his eyes.

A member of the Eastern Regional Bureau (ERB) of CPI(Maoist), middle-aged Anal da carries a reward of Rs 25 lakh on his head declared by Jharkhand government. Intelligence officers told HT that he had a good equation with Kishenji, when the Andhra-based leader was the spokesperson of ERB.

Like most Maoist leaders, he carries a few aliases such as Tufan da and Patiram Majhi. His assignment is challenging -- to re-establish the control CPI(Maoist) had in the western part of the state comprising West Midnapore, Purulia, Bankura and Birbhum districts, more popularly known as Jangalmahal.

"Anal da is guiding the movement in West Bengal's western region. We are looking for him," an intelligence officer told HT on the condition of anonymity.

Also known as comrade Majhi, Anal da hails from Jharha village within Pirtand police station limits in Giridih district of Jharkhand. He is among the top five Maoist leaders in Jharkhand and Bihar, along with central committee members Prashanta Bose alias Kishan da, Mishir Besra alias Bhaskar alias Sunirmal, Arvindji alias Dev Kumar Singh and Vivek Chandri Yadav alias Sitaram Majhi alias Nago Majhi.

"The Lugu Pahar belt in Bokaro district and the forested, hilly tracts of Saraikela-Kharswan – both of which shares border with Bengal's Purulia district – have been one of the bases of Anal da. He is also active at Khunti, Bundu, Ranchi, Jamtara, Ghatsila and Dalma hills range – all the places are easily accessible from West Bengal – and had also visited Belpahari and Bandwan regions of West Bengal," said an intelligence officer.

There have been a significant increase in Maoist activities in West Midnapore and Purulia districts of West Bengal over the past few months, after a lull of almost four years since Kishenji's death in November 2011. The Bengal unit presently operates from the Bengal-bordering areas of Jharkhand and Odisha.

Besides distributing leaflets in West Midnapore in July, Maoists also hoisted black flags at four places in Purulia district on Independence Day. The police arrested six persons on Sunday night from Purulia's Bagmundi and Balarampur in connection with the black flag campaign.

It has become crucial for the Bengal police to track the new 'guide' of the Bengal unit, which is being led by state secretary Asim Mondal alias Akash.

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