‘Maoists won`t lose punch with Kishenji`s death’
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Last Updated: Thursday, November 24, 2011, 21:14
Kolkata: Opposition CPI(M) in West Bengal on Thursday said that the loss of one individual with the killing of top Maoist leader Kishenji would not greatly affect the ultras as they have the support of "anti-national" forces.

"Kishenji as an individual does not matter, because (the Maoists) are supported by anti-national, reactionary forces. There is no reason to think that they will lose their punch with the death of an individual," Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, Surjya Kanta Mishra said.

Mishra said, "I would have been happy if he had been caught alive. I offer my sympathies to his family."

58-year-old Molajula Koteswar Rao, better known as Kishenji, was today killed in an encounter with the joint forces at Burisole forest in West Midnapore district.

Appealing to the Maoists to shun violence and join the mainstream, Mishra, also a member of CPI(M) central committee, said, "I appeal to them to leave the wrong path. If they believe in Leftism and anti-imperialism, they must come to the mainstream."

He refused to comment on whether the killing of the Maoist leader was a success for the joint forces currently operating in the area.

It is true that Kishenji was behind the killing of many of our party leaders and activists, but this is not the time to discuss success or failure, Mishra said, adding, "Nothing has happened to cause a celebration."

Sujato Bhadra, leader of the interlocutors team set up by the West Bengal government to negotiate peace with the Maoists, refused comment on the incident, saying he would come out with a statement only after discussing the matter with others in the team.

One of his team members, Asokendu Sengupta, however, told a television channel that he was 'sad' at Kishneji's killing.

"Just as I am sad at the killing of Trinamool Congress activists in Balarmpur (in Purulia), I am sad at the killing of Kishenji," Sengupta said.

He, however, did not give a direct reply when asked whether Kishenji's killing had any special significance as it happened in the midst of peace negotiations.

"We are trying to bring peace in the Junglemahal. We will have to talk to those who are in favour of it and those against. We still hope that peace will return. But it cannot be done in one or two days," Sengupta said.

Describing Kishenji's death as a big success' for the joint forces and the state government, BJP state president Rahul Sinha said the government should further intensify the operations against the ultras.

"This is a big success for the joint forces and the state government. The government should now further intensify the operations. We will support it," he said.

He said that Maoists driven by the security forces in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Bihar were able to regroup in the Ayodhya Hills in Purulia district owing to the initial lull in operations after the Mamata Banerjee government came to power in the state.

"BJP wants that those who take up arms against the state be replied with arms. We also want the government to help those who want to return to the mainstream," Sinha said.

Claiming that a section of Trinamool Congress leaders had sympathies for Maoists, he said, "We want Mamata Banerjee to utilise the intelligence agencies in finding out who they are so that steps can be taken against them."


First Published: Thursday, November 24, 2011, 21:14

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