Kanu Sanyal, 81, one of the founder leaders of the Naxalite movement, was found hanging today at his Hatighisa home, in Naxalbari, north Bengal.
Along with co-chairman Charu Mazumdar and Jangal Santhal, Sanyal formed the dreaded triad that gave birth to the peasant uprising at Naxalbari on May 25, 1967. Later, in 1969, the trio with other leaders founded the CPI (ML).
While Majumdar and Santhal died earlier, Sanyal was active in politics till a few years ago. He had, however, shunned violence after his release from jail in 1977 and led a small Naxalite outfit mostly restricted to working among the peasants and tea workers in Darjeeling district of West Bengal.
Two years earlier, he suffered a massive cerebral attack and gradually became weak and inactive. In the last few years he often used to give vent to his frustration that the Naxalite movement could not achieve its goal of making the revolution a success.
Unlike many politicians, Sanyal, was true to his political commitment and lived a very simple life. In 1948, he joined the communist movement in North Bengal. In 1951 he became a party whole-timer of the undivided CPI. Though born in a middle class family, he embraced poverty and the simple life of the peasants.
A bachelor, he made Hatighisa — the village of Santhal — his home. During the first phase of the Naxalbari movement, he was arrested twice and served prison terms for a few years. Though he was initially bent upon following the Chinese path of agrarian revolution through an armed struggle, at a later stage he became a strong critic of Majumdar’s line of ‘guerrilla warfare”, terming it as terror activities.
In more than one interview, he told this correspondent it was a matter of regret that by resorting to terrorist activities, the Naxalites had cut themselves off from the masses. In recent times, he was openly critical of the Naxalites (CPI Maoists) for the same reason.