Issues notices to centre and AP government on the killing of Maoist leader Azad and journalist Hemchandra Pandey
Deevakar Anand | January 14, 2011
The supreme court (SC) has come down hard on the centre and the Andhra Pradesh (AP) government asking them to respond to a plea for judicial probe into the killings of top Maoist leader Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad and journalist Hemchandra Pandey six months ago in an alleged fake encounter.
“We cannot allow the republic killing its own children," a division bench of justices Aftab Alam and R M Lodha remarked and issued notices to the Centre and the state government to be replied within six weeks ,on a petition by Pandey’s 30-year-old widow Babita and social activist Swami Agnivesh.
"We hope there will be an answer. There will be a good and convincing answer," the court observed, emphasising that the "government will have to answer many questions".
The petition alleges tampering of the post-mortem reports of both the dead persons. It has pointed to a fact finding exercise carried out by Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisations (CDRO) which is a national coalition of human rights organisations, which raised doubts over the genuineness of the encounter. According to it, both were killed by the AP police in blatant violation of their right to protection of life and personal liberty under the provisions of the constitution.
Azad, who was a Maoist spokesperson and carried a reward of Rs. 12 lakh on his head was killed along with the journalist allegedly in an encounter, by the Andhra police July last year in the Adilabad forests on Maharashtra-Andhra Pradesh border.
Swami Agnivesh and rights activists had termed Azad’s killing a ‘major setback’ to the peace process with the rebels.
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