Accusing Maoist leader Kishenji of failing to address the grievances of the tribals, his long term aide Gurucharan Kisku has formed his own squad.

He said Kishenji is an “outsider” who did not understand tribal sentiments.

“Tribals have distinct customs, religion and language and the party is destroying the tribal way of life in Jungle Mahal and other areas,” Kisku alias Marshal, who has been a squad member of the Maoist Communist Centre since 1988, told PTI in a telephonic interview.

Claiming that Maoists have failed to address the grievances of tribals, he said, “I decided to quit when I realised that the party was doing nothing for tribals and instead using them.

“The movement in Bengal is not a tribal movement as claimed by Kishenji, it is anti-tribal,” Kisku said from an undisclosed location on the Bengal-Jharkhand border.

Asked whether he would surrender, Kisku said, “I am a revolutionary, but I plan to denounce arms and fight through democratic methods.”

The former member of the Kharsawan-Purulia-West Midnapore-Bankura sub-zonal committee said, “Maoists are following the proletariat line where tribal distinctness is not recognized. So there is neither any cultural uplift nor tribal development.”

Noting that there was only 20 per cent representation of tribals in the leadership, Kisku said, “the voice of tribals is not strong within the party structure.”

“People in tribal areas are showing signs of resistance to Maoists and I am with them. I am also in touch with tribal leaders who have supported my stand,” he added.

Kisku, who is a graduate in Santhali language and also did a three year spoken English course in Ghatshila, said he first led the Belpahari squad, then the Bandwan squad jointly with Jagori Baskey and later became a member of area committee.

He was elevated to the rank of sub-zonal committee member looking after Kharsawan, West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia.

Having left the party, Kisku said he was always on the move. “I and my followers are being threatened by my former party and there have been attempts to kill me.”

He said he has gathered 200 youths in tribal areas of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia comprising Jungle Mahal.

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