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How Ghandy became a Red don

mumbai Updated: Sep 25, 2009 02:43 IST
Debasish Panigrahi
Debasish Panigrahi
Hindustan Times
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For the past one decade, arrested key Naxal ideologue and publicity in-charge of the Communist Party of India (CPI)-Maoist, central committee, Kobad Ghandy operated under the pen name of Azad and Kamal.

A senior Maharashtra cadre IPS officer, who kept a close watch on the activities of Ghandy and his associates recollected, that the rich Parsi from Mumbai had initially floated the Maharashtra Kamgar Union (MKU) in Nagpur to espouse the labour cause.

“Ghandy and his wife Anuradha used to be a formidable combination. They fuelled workers unrest and brought work at several industries in Nagpur and Chandrapur to a standstill,” the officer said. He said the couple and their associates were responsible for the unprecedented workers’ strike at the National Thermal Power Corporation plant at Chandrapur in mid ’90s and the hundreds of agitations in the collieries of the district.

Ghandy gradually moved to the CPI (Maoist) politbureau where he was chosen for a bigger role in the revolution by the central committee. “In 2001-02 we heard that Ghandy had been killed. That rumour had been spread by Ghandy himself as he was injured and wanted treatment incognito, after which he went underground,” the officer said.

Ghandy’s influence within the party could be gauged when he dared to revolt against Kondapalli Sitaram-maiya, founder of the People’s War Group. Differences were sorted, but Kondapalli was sidelined and Ghandy took charge of the publicity wing. With his thorough knowledge and keen analytical sense, Ghandy’s views were regularly issued as party’s press comminique.

“Since he moved to the central committee, we lost focus on him. The last I heard of him was almost a year ago when he was camping somewhere near New Delhi,” the officer recalled.