Fight Against Red Terror Gets A Boost As Top Maoist Ideologue’s Interrogation Reveals ‘Ocean Of Information’

Jaideep Mazumdar

Nov 21, 2021, 02:18 PM | Updated 02:18 PM IST

Prashanta Bose being taken into custody.
Prashanta Bose being taken into custody.
  • All this information, including the identities of many overground workers or ‘urban Naxals’ — such as human rights and environmental activists, media professionals, academics and others — will provide a huge boost to the ongoing fight against red terror.
  • Bose, considered to be a master strategist and an expert in guerilla tactics, has more than 50 criminal cases lodged against him including involvement in a plot to kill Prime Minister Modi, and carries a reward of Rupees one crore on his head.
  • Top Maoist ideologue and strategist Prashanta Bose alias ‘Kishanda’, who was arrested by Jharkhand police last week, has revealed an ‘ocean of information’ about the battle strategies, organisational tactics, external linkages and a lot of sensitive information about the terror outfit — CPI (Maoist) — of which he was the second-in-command.

    All this information, including the identities of many overground workers or ‘urban Naxals’, will provide a huge boost to the ongoing fight against red terror.

    Security analysts also say that Bose’s arrest has dealt a debilitating blow to the terror outfit.

    Bose, who hails from Bijoygarh area of Jadavpur in south Kolkata, is a founding member of the Maoist Communist Center of India (MCCI) that merged with the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)-People’s War (commonly called the People’s War Group or PWG) to form the Communist Party of India (Maoist) of which he is the virtual second-in-command.

    Bose, considered to be a master strategist and an expert in guerilla tactics, has more than 50 criminal cases lodged against him including involvement in a plot to kill Prime Minister Modi, and carries a reward of Rupees one crore on his head.

    Senior Jharkhand police officers who have interrogated Bose told Swarajya that apart from all the treasure trove of information being revealed by Bose, three electronic storage devices recovered from him have also brought to light a huge amount of intelligence.

    “All that we are learning now will help us craft a strategy for the final fight that will crush the Maoists,” said Jharkhand director-general of police Neeraj Sinha.

    “We will form teams of police officers and experts across hierarchies to study and analyse the encyclopedia of information we are obtaining. It will take months to analyse. Bose's status in the CPI (Maoist) was far higher than his post,” Sinha added.

    The 74-year-old Bose, along with his wife Sheela Marandi, who is a central committee member of the terror outfit, was arrested along with four other terrorists from Gidderbaha toll plaza of Saraikela-Kharsawan in Jharkhand on 12 November morning.

    The Jharkhand police zeroed in on Bose and his accomplices with the help of specific inputs provided by the Intelligence Bureau (IB). Two Maoist area commanders — Suraj Sardar and Ballon Sardar — who surrendered earlier this month in Jharkhand provided leads that led the police and the IB on the trail of Bose who used to be accompanied by 50 armed Maoist cadres.

    “We had started tracking Bose’s movements based on information we received about five months ago. The leads provided by the two Maoist ‘commanders’ who surrendered corroborated what we already knew about Bose’s movements. We mounted electronic surveillance also. Last week, we received information that Bose and his wife would be travelling from Parasnath Hills in Giridih district towards the Saranda forest in West Singhbhum district to participate in a meeting of senior cadres of the outfit. We were tracking Bose and his team from 4 am on November 12 (the day he was arrested) till the time he was actually nabbed through electronic surveillance,” a senior IB officer who oversees the agency’s operations against Maoists told Swarajya from New Delhi.

    Bose’s arrest was swiftly followed by the killing of Milind Teltumbde, head of the Maharashtra-Madhya Pradesh-Chhattisgarh zone of the banned terror outfit, a day later (November 13) in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli forests.

    It is speculated that Bose could have revealed the whereabouts of Teltumbde to his interrogators.

    The arrest of Bose and the killing of Teltumbde within a span of about 24 hours has dealt a huge blow to the terror outfit that is now headed by its general secretary Nambala Keshava Rao alias Basavaraj.

    And all the information being revealed by Bose and his wife will help security forces and intelligence agencies craft a pan-India strategy to deal a final and crushing blow to the red terrorists, say Jharkhand police officers.

    Bose, said the senior Jharkhand police officer who has interrogated him, has been a meticulous chronicler of developments within the MCCI and, later, the CPI (Maoist) since its formation in 2004.

    Bose’s interrogation and the electronic storage devices recovered from him have revealed extensive and some hitherto unknown information about the CPI (Maoist)’s intricate links with Nepal’s Maoists and insurgent groups of the Northeast.

    What has also come to light now is that the proscribed CPI (Maoist) had been provided material and other support by China.

    “The MCCI under Bose imparted training in weapons, explosives and guerilla tactics to Nepal’s Maoists in the late 1990s and early half of the first decade of this century. China was also supporting Nepal’s Maoists. Bose got to forge close ties with Beijing through some Sinophile leaders of the Maoist terror outfit in the Himalayan country,” said the Jharkhand police officer.

    “Under Bose, the MCCI had also forged close ties with some Northeast militant outfits, especially the ones based in Manipur’s Imphal Valley like the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK). These outfits which subscribe to communist ideology were already receiving support from China through the Beijing-funded ethnic rebels of Myanmar. The links forged by Bose with the Northeast outfits helped the MCCI establish another conduit to China,” said the IB officer who is keeping track of the interrogations of Bose and his wife.

    Apart from all these links, the intensive grilling that Bose and his wife are being subjected to and information gleaned from the electronic devices have revealed a goldmine of data on Maoists’ tactics.

    “We now have solid information on the Maoists’ guerilla tactics, how they brainwash tribals and recruit them into the outfit, their multiple sources of funds — including illegal poppy cultivation, drugs trafficking and other illicit activities like extortions etc — and all their activities. And most importantly, we have come to know their external links and the identities of their overground workers — human rights and environmental activists, media professionals, academics and others — and that will prove immensely helpful in eliminating this Maoist scourge,” said the IB officer.

    As Jharkhand police chief Neeraj Sinha said, Bose is a top ideologue of the terror outfit and is an icon among the Maoists. He is the last of the first-generation Naxals, the others being Sushil Roy, Anukul Chandra Naskar and Purnendu Sekhar Mukherjee who formed the MCCI and Narayan Sanyal and Amitabha Bagchi who formed the CPI(ML).

    While Roy, Sanyal and Mukherjee are no more, Bagchi is in prison and Naskar (in his late 70s) has been inactive since his release from prison a few years ago. Bose is also ailing and frail, but he has not been released from the organisation because the outfit could not find a replacement for Bose till now.

    “The CPI (Maoist) has been granting retirement to its senior leaders of late. For instance, Mupalla Laxman Rao alias Ganapathy stepped down as the general secretary in 2018 due to ill health. But Bose has not been relieved till now, and that in itself is an indicator of the central role he played in the organisation,” said Sinha.

    Bose was instrumental in the merger of the PWG and the MCCI and the formation of the CPI (Maoist) and has served as the secretary of the eastern regional bureau that oversees the outfit’s activities in Jharkhand, West Bengal, Bihar, parts of Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh, and the Northeast. Since the formation of the CPI (Maoist) in 2004, he has been a member of its central committee and its central military commission.

    Bose has been involved in many acts of terror and murder, including the gruesome killing of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) general secretary and Jamshedpur Lok Sabha MP Sunil Mahato. He is a prime accused in the Elgar Parishad case.

    A document obtained from Elgar Parishad case co-accused Rona Wilson has revealed that Bose was a key member in a plot to kill Prime Minister Modi. The others involved in this conspiracy were Milind Teltumbde, Rituparna Goswami alias Prakash, Deepu and Mangu (all Maoist terrorists).

    The police have also been questioning Bose on the dynamics within the terror outfit. “Through sustained interrogation of both Bose and his wife, we have confirmed that the information we had about the fissures within the outfit are true,” said the Kharkhand police officer.

    “The leaders and cadres who belonged to the MCCI have become deeply resentful of the clout of former PWG leaders and cadres in the outfit (CPI-Maoist). The former PWG leaders have a dominating presence in all the decision-making bodies within the outfit. And since most of the PWG leaders are Telugu speaking, it has created a deep ethnic divide within the organisation. Another division is between the tribals and non-tribals with the latter being largely left out of the top bodies like the central committee and the central military commission even though the terror outfit operates in what is essentially tribal territory,” said the IB officer.

    All this ‘ocean of information’ is being collated now. “What we are learning now will enable us to formulate a grand pan-India strategy to launch an all-out offensive against the Maoists and finish them off once and for all,” said the IB officer.

    Jaideep Mazumdar is an associate editor at Swarajya.

    Get Swarajya in your inbox.