Kishenji was also known as Mohan and Prahlad

Mallojula Koteshwara Rao, who was killed in an alleged encounter with the police in West Bengal on Thursday, went by several aliases other than Kishenji. A native of Peddapalli town, the 57-year-old Naxalite leader was also known as Mohan and Prahlad.

Koteshwara Rao completed his school education and college education in Karimnagar and was attracted to the then People's War Group. He joined LLB in Hyderabad, but discontinued it and joined Radical Students' Union (RSU) during the Emergency.

He was arrested by Peddapalli Police in 1979 in a case pertaining to abduction and torture of landlords. He went underground in 1980 and strengthened the party in Peddapalli division and was active in Sircilla and Vemulawada regions where he instigated people against landlords.

He was involved in the conspiracy for assassination of former Andhra Assembly Speaker D. Sripada Rao in 1999. A total of 14 cases have been pending against him in Karimnagar district and he carried a reward of Rs. 12 lakh on his head.


He worked as PWG district committee secretary in 1983, State committee secretary in 1984 and also Central Committee member from 1989. He worked in the Dandakaranya region and Chhattisgarh State also.

He also moved in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra before settling down in West Bengal as Central Committee member.

TRS MLC Naradasu Laxman Rao, a close associate of Koteshwara Rao, with whom he worked for about three years in underground, told The Hindu that the Maoist leader was an inspiration to the youth during those days.

He was very much concerned about the poor and downtrodden community and fought against the landlords. He said Koteshwara Rao was hearing-impaired and always used a machine.

He expresses his anger and later rectifies the mistake.

Old clothes

T. Santosh Kumar, former DCC president, recalling his association with Koteshwara Rao in Karimnagar district, said the Naxalite leader asked him to provide him with his old clothes.

Koteshwara Rao's brother Venugopal Rao is also a Maoist Central Committee member while another brother Anjaneyulu works in a cooperative bank in Peddapalli.