Communist Party of India Maoist leader Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad was working on a proposal for a ceasefire between the Left-wing extremists and security forces when he was nabbed by the AP police and killed in a fake encounter, a CPI-Maoist leader has claimed.
Gudsa Usendi, spokesman of the Dandakarniya special zone committee of the CPI-Maoist, told rediff.com that Azad was articulating the point of view of the organisation to Home Minister P Chidambaram's proposal for a 72-hour ceasefire and peace talks.
"In fact, he was coming to Dandakarniya region to talk to us to work out a ceasefire when he was caught by the police near Nagpur," he said.
"Now the dastardly killing of Azad shows that Chidambaram's talk was a mere drama," he said.
"Azad wanted a meaningful exercise. He wanted Operation Green Hunt to be stopped and wanted to ensure ceasefire from both the sides," Usendi said.
Usendi claimed that a freelance journalist from Delhi, Hemchandr Pandey, was accompanying Azad when he was nabbed by the police. Pandey was reportedly a resident of Dewaltal village in Pithorgarh in Uttarkhand who was working as a free lance journalist in Delhi.
Both of them were taken to Adilabad forest and killed in the forest area in a staged encounter, Usendi claimed.
Maoist sympathiser Vara Vara Rao claimed that Pandey was doing a story on 'the atrocities on tribal population in the name of Operation Green Hunt against Maoists'.
On Friday, the police had claimed that Azad and another unidentified Maoist were killed in an encounter in Jogapur forest area of Adilabad district. According to the police, the Maoists and the police personnel exchanged gunfire for over four hours. But locals residing in nearby hamlets claimed that they had not heard any sound of firing.
Adilabad District Superintendent of Police Pramod Kumar said between 20 and 25 Maoists participated in the encounter.
The identification of the other victim as a journalist has only added to the confusion and raised several uncomfortable questions for the police.
Vara Vara Rao has demanded a judicial inquiry into the entire episode.
The Andhra Pradesh police said that the identity of the person killed along with Azad was yet to be established.
"We are yet to establish the identity of the deceased," said Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police R R Girish Kumard.