Monday Musings: Can killing of Milind Teltumbde put an end to urban network of Maoists?

For over 25 years, the security forces of Maharashtra and the other parts of the country were chasing him. But Milind Baburao Teltumbde often eluded them. Finally, on Saturday, Teltumbde, a central committee member of the CPI (Maoist), was among 26 persons killed in the operation carried out by C-60 wing of Maharashtra police.

Teltumbde is among others charged in the Bhima Koregaon-Elgar Parishad case in which agencies have invoked over a dozen charges including the dreaded Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). If the top Maoist commander was instrumental for the growth of the Maoist movement in Gadchiroli, Rajnandgaon and Gondia, Teltumbde was also among the key members of the CPI (Maoist) group coordinating expansion of activities of the banned outfit, according to senior police officials involved in various anti-Naxal operations.

His killing, many in security forces in Maharashtra say, will put breaks on activities of the banned outfit. 

Teltumbde, as per National Investigating Agency (NIA), was in touch with some of the other arrested accused in the Elgar Parishad case about the urban network of CPI (Maoist). The NIA also claimed that as per the evidence on record that in June 2018 Teltumbde discussed the Elgar Parishad programme (with other members) which was organised at Pune and the subsequent in-roads made by the CPI (Maoist) in the organisation and execution through the members of Kabir Kala Munch and other frontal organisations.

With a reward of 50 lakh on his head, Teltumbde orchestrated many attacks on security forces. Milind’s brother Anand Teltumbde, a noted academic and writer, is also one of the accused in the Elgar case and is lodged in Mumbai’s Taloja jail awaiting trial.

For his involvement in various violent activities, state police forces were constantly on his lookout. In one of the documents presented by Pune police to the court during the Elgar hearing, Teltumbde appeared thanking advocate Surendra Gadling (another Elgar accused) for providing legal aid to the Maoists. “With the support of Gadling and comrade Varavara Rao, various activities could be possible in various parties of the country,” the letter stated.

The man believed to be in his late 50s joined the Maoist movement in 1980 after a quarrel with the then manager of Western Coalfields Limited in Chandrapur. Hailing from Rajir village of Wani tehsil of Yavatmal district of Vidarbha in Maharashtra, Teltumbde completed his ITI and joined Western Coalfields Limited as a junior technician when he became active in its workers’ union.

After becoming active in the Maoist movement, Teltumbde married Angela Sontakke, who was arrested in 2011 for her alleged association with CPI (Maoist) and was later released on bail, at Chandrapur in 1994. For many years, Teltumbde had hitherto been operating under the aliases ‘Jeeva’ and ‘Deepak’ in the forested regions of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh, was the secretary of Maharashtra unit of CPI(Maoist). Over the last few years, he has been working as in-charge of the CPI(Maoist) Maharashtra-Madhya Pradesh-Chhattisgarh (MMC) zone.



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