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Azad cremated; Maoists call for nationwide strike

By Mohammed Siddique
July 04, 2010 18:07 IST
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Even as the slain top Maoist leader Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad was cremated in Hyderabad in the presence of hundreds of mourners, including writers, poets and activists, the CPI Maoist has announced a week-long protest against what they call a "fake encounter". 

The CPI Maoist has called for a protest week from July 8 to 14, culminating in 48-hour-long nationwide strike on July 13 and 14.

"The party has given a call for protest week and Bharat Bandh to protest against the fake encounter killing of comrade Azad by the Andhra Pradesh police," said Gudsa Usendi, the spokesman of Dandakarniya special zone committee spokesperson.

Azad, member of central committee and politburo as well as national spokesman of the party, was killed in forest area of Adilabad district in early hours of Friday last. While police said he along with another Maoist, was killed in an exchange of fire, CPI Maoist said both were killed in a fake encounter after they were taken in to custody in Nagpur a day earlier.

The other victim was later identified as a freelance journalist Hemchandar Pandey.

Rich tributes were paid to Azad at Punjagutta cremation ground in Hyderabad, where his brother lit the pyre. Earlier the members of Revolutionary Writers Association members G Kalyan Rao, Vara Vara Rao, Chalasani Prasad, and popular balladeer Ghaddar, Dalit leader Manda Krishna Madiga, Telugu film actor-director Narayana Murthy and women's activist G Sandhya and many others speaking before the cremation described Azad as the embodiment of revolutionary struggle against the exploitation of the people.

Kalyan Rao and Vara Vara Rao called for immediate halt to the Operation Green Hunt.

"Intellectuals should rise in protest against these fake encounter killings to stop the Green Hunt operation," Rao said. Hundreds of people, mostly activists from different walks of life, were present during the cremation.

The cremation ground echoed with the slogans of "Lal Salam" and "Long live revolution".

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Mohammed Siddique in Hyderabad