The police training institute in Ranchi was the destination of several top police officials of India on Saturday. Senior intelligence and super cops from Delhi, Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh were lined up to meet Prashanta Bose, alias Kishan Da, the once number two of banned outfit CPI(Maoists) of India.
When THE WEEK visited Dandakaranya in 2017, top Maoist leader and zonal chief Gajarala Ravi had told this correspondent: “Kishan Da is our patriarch. He is a moral guide for all of us. He showed us the path which hardly anybody could have taken.”
In CPI (Maoists), Bose was accepted next to Ganapathy, the general secretary of the party. He, along with his wife Sheetal Marandi, was arrested earlier this week by Jharkhand Police. An ailing Bose has been kept at the Ranchi police training institute while his wife, also ailing, has been hospitalised. He often complains of breathing problems. He demands hot tea quite on and off but is having full appetite.
Many consider Bose’s arrest as his surrender due to his indisposed situation. He was not heading the military commission of the party or having any say in the party’s attack or retaliation modules for quite a while. But he was the prime man in giving strategy—both political and financial—to the party. He was widely respected by the party’s two wings—MCC and PWG, which merged in 2004 but are still having fissures within—and was an architect of the party's liaison with organisations like NSCN(IM), PLA and NSCN (K).
Bose had visited Northeast and Myanmar and held meetings with the NE rebels. An NIA report in 2014—when it arrested Antony Shimrey of NSCN(IM)—had indicated that it was Bose who stitched the alliance between PLA, NSCN and Maoists. The rebels in Northeast supplied arms, ammunition, training and even money to Naxals for creating free zones in Jharkhand’s East Singhbhum and West Bengal’s Midnapore, Jhargram, Purulia and Bankura also known as Junglemahal.
Bose’s next move was a dreadful attempt to contact Lashkar-e-Taiba. He was the most trusted by Ganapathy and was the chief’s main adviser on policy matters of the party. He can speak in seven languages including English. His efforts for an alliance with Lashkar, however, did not bear any fruit due to the massive Operation Green Hunt launched by the UPA II government. Bose was supposed to succeed Ganapathy as the general secretary of the party. But age caught up with him and he decided to leave the jungle forever with his wife.
Almost a decade after that, Bose, now 80, has hung up his boots. Senior joint director-level officers from central IB and various states are in Ranchi to interrogate him like every other state.
THE WEEK spoke to an officer from the central IB, who met Bose in Ranchi. “He cannot stand on his own. His hands tremble and possibly he is a patient of Parkinson’s disease,” said the officer.
During the interrogation, Bose refused to reveal where Ganapathy is staying these days, but claimed that he is still alive. Bose also told police that Ganapathy is not staying in Narayanpur.
Narayanpur in Chattishgarh, where the CRPF entered this year for the first time, is a known hideout of the former rebel head.
Contrary to Kobad Gandhi’s recent statement that he was not a politburo member of the party, Bose was quoted as saying, “Kobad ji was our international propaganda head. He was a politburo member as well.”
Bose told the officials that the party had not conducted a Party Congress since 2009. The last Congress was held in Jharkhand. Bose said that the process of turning the PLGA into the PLA (in Chinese style) has been going on.
“A draft of that has already been prepared by the party. But it could not be made possible today because of the central government's relentless attacks on us,” said Bose to the interrogators.