July 5, 2010 1:55:51 am
The CPI (Maoist) on Sunday vowed to avenge the killing of its spokesperson and central committee member Azad Cherukuri Rajkumar and zonal committee member Hemchandra Pandey. Azad and Pandey were shot dead by the Andhra Pradesh Police in an alleged encounter in Adilabad district on July 2.
It is not an encounter at all. It is a cold-blooded murder by the Andhra Police. Let us avenge the killings of the beloved comrades, said a statement issued by Ajay,CPI (Maoist) spokesperson,on Sunday.
They were arrested from Nagpur,taken to the jungles of Adilabad and shot dead in cold blood. We pay our red homage to our beloved comrades and vow vengeance… In Azads death,the Indian revolutionary movement lost an exemplary comrade and a shining star,who served the movement for more than three-and-a-half decades, added the statement.
Stating that the police were resorting to killings of revolutionaries,the CPI(Maoist) warned that ultimately these killers will be taken to task by the revolutionary masses.
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Meanwhile,top Maoist leader Kishenji called for a 48-hour Bharat Bandh from July 7 to protest against the killing of Azad. Railways,milk,ambulance and fire services have been exempted from the shutdown.
Hundreds of people turned up for Azads funeral at the Punjagutta cremation ground in the heart of Hyderabad.
Much to the surprise of Azads mother,C Karuna,and brother,C Suresh,several surrendered Maoists,revolutionary sympathisers,former classmates and friends,Left party workers,and people from his native village in Krishna district arrived at the cremation ground to pay their last respects. As the crowds swelled,the police watched from a safe distance.
We abhor Naxalite violence but cannot deny that leaders like Azad fought on behalf of the poor and the oppressed people and gave them hope. These people make the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of others. We should at least acknowledge it,irrespective of whether we support their tactics or not. That is why so many people are here today, said an elderly man from Warangal.
Folk artist and balladeer Gadar sang impromptu eulogies for anna,as Naxalites are often referred to in Andhra. Many surrendered Naxalites living elsewhere in the state made the overnight trip to Hyderabad and slipped in quietly into the cremation ground to have a last glimpse of one of the most well-known Maoist leaders from the state.
Writer Varavara Rao hailed Azad as a peoples leader who sacrificed his life fighting on behalf of the poor. Several intellectuals like Kalyan Rao spoke about Azad and his life. Azads former M Tech (Chemical Engineering) batchmates,friends from the Radical Students Union of which he was president in 1984,and a few surviving members of former CPI(ML),Peoples War,a number of human rights and civil liberties activists and leader of the backward Madiga community Manda Krishna Madiga were also present.
Was on his way to discuss Agniveshs proposals with comrades
Calling it a cold-blooded murder,the Maoists statement said: CPI (Maoist) never contested or raised any hue and cry in the case of real ecncounters. There was no such programme of Azad going to Sarkepally forest of Adilabad. Azad was going to discuss with our comrades,inter alia,the concrete proposals of well meaning people like Swamy Agnivesh about particular dates for the mutual ceasefire. He was carrying a confidential letter of Swamy Agnivesh written to Azad on June 26. When there is no movement and organisation in Adilabad,what is the necessity of Azad going there? That the police found an AK-47 is again a lie. He alighted from a train around 10 am along with comrade Hem Pandey at Nagpur station,and was caught by the AP SIB unarmed.
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