Moles within the ranks of the CPI(Maoist) gave away Kishenji to the security forces who killed him in an encounter in November 2011, Maoist leader Ganapathy said in his 17-page letter to top party comrades.
Koteswar Rao alias Kishenji, who was in-charge of West Bengal and especially the Lalgarh movement, died in an encounter at Burishole forest in West Midnapore district (about 150 km south west of Kolkata) on November 23, 2011.
While security forces had claimed Kishenji was killed during a gunbattle, Ganapathy’s letter claimed that Kishenji was ‘caught on the field by the police’, tortured and murdered.
“Our beloved leader comrade Kishenji was caught, brutally tortured and killed by the enemy with the help of coverts. This is a false encounter,” Ganapathy wrote.
In Maoist jargon, ‘covert’ means secret agents, or moles in the party.
They are usually agents of the police or intelligence department or other security forces.
Kishenji became known around June 2009-April 2010, when he regularly used mobile phones to interact with journalists across the country.
Surprisingly, he even gave live TV interviews and became a public face of the Maoists.
While Ganapathy’s letter did not divulge the chain of events on how Kishenji was caught and killed, Maoist sources in West Bengal claimed Kishenji was with state committee member Suchitra Mahato and sevenmember guerrilla squad days before his death.
“But three of them, who used to travel to Jhargram town regularly to bring newspapers for the leader, fled the camp and surrendered before the CRPF’s 184th battalion. These three persons, including Kishenji’s bodyguard, helped security forces encircle the village and identify the four other squad members,” a source told HT.
Suchitra Mahato and all seven squad members had later surrendered before the police and accepted Mamata Banerjee’s government’s rehabilitation package.
Kishenji’s death created a uproar among human rights activists in the state, as he was killed at a time when the CPI(Maoist) Bengal chapter was observing ceasefire with the state government.
Rights bodies claimed that Kishanji was killed in a fake encounter.
But security forces denied the charge and said it was ‘a clean and successful operation’.