Agnivesh blames government for killing Azad

Spiritual and social activist Swami Agnivesh, who claimed Home Minister had authorised him to broker peace with the Maoists, Monday attacked the government for gunning down Maoist leader Cherukuri Raj Kumar alias Azad.

Updated: Jul 19, 2010, 23:36 PM IST

Lucknow: Spiritual and social activist Swami Agnivesh, who claimed Home Minister P Chidambaram had authorised him to broker peace with the Maoists, Monday attacked the government for gunning down Maoist leader Cherukuri Raj Kumar alias Azad in Andhra Pradesh earlier this month.

Terming the gunfight as "fake", Agnivesh said: "Azad`s killing has jeopardised all my efforts to persuade Maoists to give up arms."

Azad, a spokesman and politburo member of the Communist Party of India-Maoist and the third in the party`s hierarchy, was gunned down by police in Adilabad district bordering Maharashtra July 2.

Agnivesh also sought a judicial inquiry into Azad`s killing. "The encounter was not only a betrayal with the Maoists but also with me as it was a clear cut violation of my understanding with the central government."

He said he was "not happy with the Home Minister`s attitude when I met him to raise my objections against the encounter."

"I would wish to urge the union government to order an impartial judicial inquiry, in order to make the Maoists understand that the government was serious and sincere about bringing an amicable solution to the long pending menace," he said, adding he believed that there was no way other than dialogue to being an end to the militancy.

He also urged the rebels to observe a 72-hour ceasefire so that talks could begin.

IANS