A day after top Maoist leader Mallojula Koteswara Rao alias Kishenji was reportedly killed in an encounter with the West Bengal police, his friends and classmates have gone down the memory lane recalling their association with the slain naxal leader.
Be it his classmates in his native Peddapalli town in Karimnagar district or a doctor friend in Nizamabad, every one spoke about his leadership qualities and the concern the departed leader showed for the poor and the downtrodden.
“Though, we cannot see him, but he is alive in our hearts, particularly the downtrodden,” said L. Sarala, retired headmistress of Government school and his classmate in the school. “Koteswara Rao used to fight against the injustice from his school days and revolted whenever a person insulted or hurt another student,” she observed.
Ms. Sarala recalled presence of Koteswara Rao at her marriage reception in July 1978. “That was the last time I saw him and he never returned. I later read in newspaper and saw him on television news channels,” she pointed out.
Reminiscing his experiences, Dr. Ravindra Suri, medical superintendent of Pragati Cardian Centre in Nizamabad district headquarters said: “Koteswara Rao was a great organiser, military strategist, a rare kind of intellectual and motivator, all blended into one.”
Dr. Suri himself was a close associate of the naxalite leader for over a decade in the Central Organising Committee of the previous People's War Group. “He was very friendly and an excellent orator. His father Venkataiah and my father Vishwanatha Suri were freedom fighters and friends. My father served as the Chennur MLA during 1952-56”, says Dr. Suri who worked together with Kishenji in the People's War in Karimnagar and Adilabad from 1974.
“As a student of the Osmania Medical College I used to attend all meetings in the city along with Koteshwar Rao,” he said. Once in early 80s Dr. Suri was with Kishenji when he had undergone ear surgery at Apollo Hospital in Chennai. Again he attended him at a hospital in Chennai when he was seriously ill.