Maoist leader Kishenji killed in encounter: Report

Last Updated: Thursday, November 24, 2011 - 23:59

Kolkata: In a body blow to Maoists, the
joint forces killed top Maoist leader Mollajulla Koteswar Rao
in a fierce gunbattle in a forest in West Midnapore district
On Thursday.

The body of 58-year-old Rao alias Kishenji, a Maoist
politburo member and ranking third in Maoist hierarchy leading
armed operations in junglemahal since 2009, was found after
the encounter and identified, a top counter-insurgency force
official said.
"Kishenji has been killed and his body identified
along with his AK-47 rifle," the official told agency here.

The joint forces, acting on specific information that
Kishenji was present started cordoning off the area, after the
Maoist leader had escaped for a second time since March last
year from the Kushaboni forest nearby yesterday, the official
said.

1,000 personnel of the joint forces of CRPF, BSF and
CoBRA, launched an offensive and broke through the four-tier
security of Maoists comprising `village defence squads` after
a fire-fight at Burisole jungle, he said.

He said the joint forces were looking for Suchitra
Mahato, a Maoist woman leader with whom Kishenji lived and was
accompanying him, and others who fled after the encounter.

The joint forces recovered letters written by Kishenji
and Suchitra Mahato, besides a laptop bag and some documents
after raiding the house of a person named Dharmendra Mahato at
Gosaibandh village.
"Kishenji`s plan was to move to Malabal jungle in
Jharkhand, but we were successful in sealing all escape
routes. We could confine him to the Burisole forest," the
official said.

In Delhi, Union Home Secretary R K Singh told reporters
that "most likely it is Kishenji. The officers on the spot
said that it is Kishenji and most likely, 99 per cent it is
Kishenji."

Singh said the Home Ministry sent the latest
photographs of the Maoist leader for comparison and final
confirmation.

West Bengal government sounded a statewide alert after
receiving a directive from the Union Home ministry, Director
General of Police Naparajit Mukherjee said here.

Senior officers, including IG (Western Range) Gangeswar
Singh, DIG, Midnapore Range, Vineet Goel, Counter Insurgency
Force (CIF) Superintendent of Police Manoj Verma, and CIF DIG
S N Gupta, jointly led the operations which spread over four
forest areas starting from Binpur to Silda via the border with
Jharkhand.

This was the first major offensive against the Maoists
after the Mamata Banerjee government assumed power in the
state.

Manoj Verma, the former SP of West Midnapore during the
Left Front rule, who was sent on compulsory wait when the new
government took over, was recently recalled to intensify the
operations against the Maoists after Mamata Banerjee took a
hard stand against the ultras.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, November 24, 2011 - 18:05

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