THRISSUR: After almost 40 years in hiding as a central committee member of the Maoist party, Kannambally Murali from Ernakulam has been arrested at Pune. Based at Irumbanam, he is the youngest of five sons. His father Kannambally Karunakara Menon was an ambassador in several High Commissions.
Young Murali passed his pre-degree at Maharajas with high marks before joining the Regional Engineering College at Kozhikode.
It was there that his name was closely associated with P Rajan, an REC student who was branded a left wing extremist and infamously killed in police captivity. “Murali’s name had wrongly appeared in the list of accused during that time who had attacked a police station in Kozhikode. Subsequently, he was detained in several camps including the notorious Kakkayam police camp,” a source once close to Murali said.
“Consequently, it was at Kozhikode that he first came into contact with the Naxalite movement.He dropped out of college and went undeground around that time,” he said. He was a part of the K Venu group CRC CPI ML before it dissolved in the nineties, following which he floated a CPI ML Naxalbari group of which he was the All India secretary. CPI ML Naxalbari group had later merged with the CPI Maoist group in 2014. He was inducted into their central committee. He also had several international linkages, most prominently with Naxalite leaders in Nepal. He was also involved for sometime with the Revolutionary International movement, a Maoist party international forum in the 80s.However, people close to him note that he was not a firebrand activist as one would expect.
“He was silent and exceptionally well-read, the intellectual type. The person we know who would not be involved in any armed activities,” a source said. It was in the later years after he dropped out of college, that he married a Dalit woman Jennifer based in Vypeen which later ended in divorce. “Contrary to what one would expect, he was in good terms with his family. His father had come for the wedding and blessed the couple. Though there were many differences between them, they maintained an affable relationship,” he said.
He has written several books and contributed articles in leading publications under the pseudonym Ajith.
‘Last Leader with Int’l Link’
“After I left the Naxalite party, Murali was the one who dealt with the some issues that arose with the communist party in Nepal. In a way, he is one of the last Maoist leaders from the area with international connections,” said former Naxalite leader K Venu on Kannambally Murali. “He was a strict person and a very knowledgable one. I remember in 84, we attended the Nepal party congress held at Ayodhya in India,” he said.