Kishenji, the marksman who was biggest security headache

Kishenji, the marksman who was biggest security headache

Born Mallojula Koteswara Rao in an Andhra village, the media-friendly 58-year-old cotton-clad savvy commander was the face of the Maoist movement in India.

Kishenji's body image in public is of a man with his face covered showing only his back with a striped scarf around his head and a AK-47 Assault Rifle slung across his shoulder.

He has been under immense pressure since the start of 'Operation Greenhunt' in 2009 and like counterinsurgency operations throughout the Maoist stronghold in the 'Red Corridor' that are underway at present.

Active in Lalgarh area of West Bengal, he has regularly vacillated about the concept of peace talks on the national level with the Centre all the while issuing statements that he refuses to lay down arms as a pre-condition of arriving at the negotiating table.

A Politburo member of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) and the group's military leader, he had claimed responsibility for the Silda camp attack in West Bengal in 2010. Twenty-four paramilitary personnel of Eastern Frontier Rifles(EFR) were killed in the massacre

"This is our 'Operation Peace Hunt'. It is our retaliation against the 'Operation Green Hunt' of the government," an unrepentant Kishenji told local television stations in Kolkata after the attack. Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee have dubbed Maoists as worse and deadlier than terrorists.

The second in-command of the outfit and in-charge of military operations in junglemahal since 2009, Kishenji has given regular interviews to the media from an unknown location. He has previously used Prahlad, Murali, Ramji, Jayant and Sridhar as aliases.