Friday, November 13, 2009

From petty thief to Naxal commander

Bhupendra Pandey

Posted: Friday , Nov 13, 2009 at 0136 hrs

Kamlesh Chaudhary, the sub-zonal Naxal commander who was killed in an encounter with Sonbhadra police on Monday, had no ideological motivation for joining Left extremists and was, in fact, a petty criminal in Bihar’s Rohtas district before he joined the People’s War Group in 1994, claimed the police.

The 48-year-old was in charge of an area which spread over adjoining parts of Bihar, Jharkhand and UP and also responsible for raising funds. Rohtas SP Vikas Vaibhav said Chaudhary’s name figured in over a dozen killings, including that of Bihar Police personnel.

The People’s Union for Civil Liberties and the Songanga Vindhyachal Committee, which is know to have Naxal leanings, have alleged that Chaudhary was caught by the Rohtas police on November 8 along with four others and handed over to the UP Police, which killed him in a stage-managed encounter. However, Sonbhadra SP Preetinder Singh said the community policing drive initiated in tribal areas over the past two months led them to Chaudhary's jungle hideout.

Virendra Kumar, a native of Chiutia township, said though Kamlesh’s parents were poor labourers who could barely feed their children, the family had, over the past decade, become one of the richest in the area. “They have shifted from a thatched hut to a two-storey building and have a tractor and two motorcycles besides 25 bighas of farming land,” he claimed.

Chiutia police station SO N K Mishra said, “Kamlesh was first arrested in 1993 in a case of theft. He first entered police records as a Naxal when he shot dead a constable at Bhabhua crossing in Nauhatta area of Rohtas district in 1999.” He was also behind the September 2003 landmine blast that killed 12 policemen in Nauhatta, he added

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