The faceless face of the Maoists | kolkata | Hindustan Times
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The faceless face of the Maoists

kolkata Updated: Feb 19, 2010 01:35 IST
West Bengal

Date of birth: July 25, 1956
Date of marriage: August 8, 1984
Wife’s name: Myna
Favourite colour: Green
Favourite weapon: AK 47
Biggest regret: Never meeting Charu Mazumdar

Almost everything about him is known, except where he is.

Over the past nine months, about 10 officials of West Bengal police are tracking his cellphone.

But Mallojula Koteshwar Rao alias Kishenji, politburo member of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), remains elusive.

He has been confined to about 50 sq km area around Lalgarh, about 180 km west of Kolkata. His feeble voice frail frame and his face wrapped in a striped scarf have by now been a familiar picture. But he still manages to elude the cops.

“People shield me,” he said.

Immediately after Monday’s attack on the Eastern Frontier Rifles camp at West Midnapore Silda, he told Hindustan Times, “I am very much in Lalgarh.”

He also claimed that he was close to the camp when the operation took place.

“I know he makes frequent phone calls to media persons, but it is too tough to catch him,” admitted Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee in December in New Delhi.

Kishenji changed his phone numbers seven times since June. He doesn’t carry his cellphone when he moves and switches on his mobile phone at 6 pm only after his field officers give him the go-ahead.

But where gadgets have failed, live sources seem to hold promise. Since October 2009, Bengal police came close to Kishenji at least twice. Both times, locals had revealed information about him, the police claimed.

According to police, the secret to Kishenji’s success so far is that despite being tech-savvy and fluent in English, Hindi and Bangla, Kishenji never stepped out of the jungle in 23 years.

(With inputs from Avijit Ghosal, Kolkata and P. Vijay Murty, Jamshedpur)