India : Top Maoist Commander Killed

 KOLKATA: In a huge setback to Maoists, its top leader Kishanji was today killed in a gunbattle with security forces in a forest in West Midnapore district of West Bengal, a day after he narrowly escaped from there.

The body of 58-year-old Molajula Koteswar Rao, better known as Kishanji, was found and identified after the encounter, a top counter-insurgency force official said.

Kishanji, a Telugu, was a Maoist politburo member, the third in-command of the outfit and in-charge of its armed operations in junglemahal since 2009.

After receiving specific information that he and some of his associates and Suchitra Mahato, the wife of a slain leader he was living with, were holed up in Kushboni jungle, the area was surrounded by security forces, triggering an encounter.

The four tiers of Kishanji’s security was breached, the official said. It was from Kushboni forest that Kishanji had been operating since 2009.

The encounter which began this morning at Burisole jungle in Jamboni police station area was close to Kushboni near the Jharkhand border.

The official said Kishanji’s body was identified by the AK-47 rifle he was carrying. Suchitra and others fled.

A laptop bag, some letters written by Kishanji and Suchitra and a few important documents were earlier seized by the joint forces from Gosaibandh village nearby.

Union home secretary R K Singh said in New Delhi that the killing of Kishanji was a « huge set back for the Naxals as he was number three in the hierarchy of CPI(Maoists).

TV News now reporting that Maoist Military Commander Kishenji shot dead along with four accomplices in a Special Operation.

Actually the Maoists are tackled by the local Police as well as the Central Paramilitaries especially the Central Reserve Police Force. The Indian Government has a policy of not using the Army or the Airforce against the Maoists cause it is deemed that the Police and the Para military are good enough to tackle the Maoists once the individual State Governments have the political will.

The Army is also reluctant to be involved in the fight against the Maoists cause the whole thing is seen as a developmental issue and not really a military one. Plus using the Army also means giving the Army a free hand with special acts like the Armed Forces Special Protection Act, an Act which is much vilified by Leftists and so called liberal.

But the fact is that deaths due to Maoists violence have been coming down year after year and this year has seen the least deaths in the last more than 10 years. So the Government strategy seems to be working