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Who was Kishenji?

24 November 2011

statesman news service

KOLKATA, 24 NOV: A politburo member of CPI (Maoist), Mallojula Koteswara Rao alias Kishenji, was born in 1956. His emergence as the most-visible face of the Maoist movement began in a small village of Naachpalli in Karimnagar district of Andhra Pradesh. Burning of a government bus outside his local school marked his initiation into the Maoist movement.
From school, Kishenji, who was heavily influenced by the former Maoist Communist Centre (MCC), moved to Government Degree College, Peddapalli, where he was drawn into the Telangana movement. Even before completing graduation, he captured Maoist attention for organising mass protests and agitations in favour of the statehood demand. At the age of 20, he joined the former CPI-ML (People's War) and was followed soon by his brother Venugopal Rao. Kishenji was made the secretary of the north Telangana region committee, and quickly rose in the ranks. Around 1990, when he was the state committee secretary of Andhra Pradesh, the CPI-ML moved him to Dandakaranya, from there to West Bengal and later to Jharkhand. He married M Mainakka, who also joined the Maoists. During the last two decades, he moved under various aliases, including Murali, Pradip, Vimal, and Prahlad. Kishenji is also suspected to have masterminded the landmine attack on the convoy in which former West Bengal chief minister Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and then Union minister Mr Ram Vilas Paswan were travelling. Both had a narrow escape.
In May 2009, Kishenji for the first time used the media when his letter to his mother Madhuramma, was sent to a Telugu newspaper. In it, he wrote that after he witnessed police firing outside his school he decided to join the Maoists. Later, Kishenji would use the media as an effective tool to spread Maoist propaganda and from a shy leader, he became the most media-savvy Maoist commander of all time.
Kishenji's father was a member of the Congress Socialist Party. When his father died in 1984, Kishenji even stayed away from the funeral.

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