“Naxalism has failed. Had it really been a people’s movement, masses’ support would have continued,” Dinesh Gope said

Barely a few months after donning the soldier’s olive green uniform post schooling, Dinesh Gope realised that this path would not lead him towards his idea of serving the nation. He quit the Indian Army in 2003.

Moved by the exploits of freedom fighters such as Subhas Chandra Bose and Bhagat Singh, Gope decided to raise his own ragtag army to wage a battle in independent India for “complete freedom” against “clones of Britishers”, frustrated as he said he was over deeprooted corruption and misgovernance in a democratic set-up dominated by capitalists. 

The almost six feet tall, clean shaven chief commander of banned People's Liberation Front of India (PLFI) dons an army combat dress, with a “scout sniper” badge pinned on the left side of his chest, and sports multiple rings on almost all his fingers and Rudraksha Maalas around his neck. He holds a sophisticated, and banned, Heckler & Koch - 33 German made assault rifle. The pouches around his waist are filled with bullets and a sling bag hung across his shoulder carries scores of mobile phones.

A native of village Lapa Morha Toli in Khunti district, which is populated by Munda tribe, Gope belongs to a caste, which is classified under the OBCs and is equivalent to Yadavs. He is popularly addressed as DG, the acronym for his name, which could also phonetically double up for director general of police, providing another peep into his psyche.

Gope, who along with others raised Jharkhand Liberation Tigers (JLT) in 2003, which was later renamed PLFI, detests being clubbed with the Communist Party of India (Maoist), the biggest left-wing extremist group in the country. He has been able to keep Mao and Lenin away from the discourse among his cadres due to his dislike for Naxalism of 1970s that falsely promised a ‘red revolution’.

“Naxalism has failed. Had it really been a people’s movement, masses’ support would have continued,” he said.

On the other hand, he said, the PLFI’s armed struggle was within the confines of the Constitution, even as he aimed to get rid of exploitative regimes perpetuated by corrupt politicians and bureaucrats eager to help profiteering corporates. “I am not an Aatankwadi (terrorist), nor do I believe in destroying public property. Whatever I do is social work, for empowerment of masses,” he said.

Though he claims that he does not own a house, Jharkhand police has booked him under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and seized two plots and a flat in Ranchi.