Azad`s killing: Pranab defends Mamata on her position

Mamata Banerjee at her Lalgarh rally on Aug 9 had said Maoist leader Azad`s killing was not correct.

Kolkata: Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee facing flak from the Opposition for her statement on the killing of Maoist leader Cherakuri Rajkumar alias Azad, on Sunday received support from Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee who found "nothing wrong" with it.

When asked whether Banerjee, being part of the UPA government, was unjustified in saying that the killing of Azad was not correct at a public meeting, Mukherjee said, "I don`t think so. We had a detailed discussion with the Prime Minister, Home Minister and Mamata Banerjee and she has explained her position".

"She has said if Azad was killed because of the fact that he was trying to initiate talks with the Centre then that should be explained," Mukherjee said.

"Even after that, the Andhra Pradesh government has come out with a statement on the killing of Azad and they explained their position. So there is nothing wrong in making
the statement," the Union Finance Minister said.

Mamata Banerjee at her Lalgarh rally on August 9 had said Azad`s killing was "not correct", which sparked a lot of controversy.

Azad was killed by Andhra Pradesh Special Intelligence Branch at Adilabad district on July 2 allegedly in a fake

Defending Banerjee at a book release programme at Kolkata Press Club, Mukherjee said, "Mamata is part of the coalition government but she has her own political identity
and it is unfair to think that she cannot make any statement on her own".

"If she thinks that the Maoist problem can be negotiated through dialogue and invites the Maoists for talks then that doesn`t mean that she has links with the Maoists",
Mukherjee said.

"She has got every right to make independent statement" Mukherjee added.

When asked about allegations from several quarters that CPI(M) cadres had been entering Lalgarh area, Mukerjee said he was aware of the allegations that Marxist Communists taking the help of the joint forces to infiltrate into the liberated zone.

Banerjee had made the allegation that CPI(M) was taking advantage of the situation to increase their political base, Mukherjee said and assured that he would look into it.

Speaking on the recent political clashes in the state, Mukherjee said, "Political clashes, whosoever does it, are unfortunate and there is no room for violence in the country
and that should be stopped immediately".


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