*Protest against the Killing of Azad, Spokesperson of CPI (Maoist) and Journalist Hem Chandra Pandey
*CONSTITUTE JUDICIAL INQUIRY INTO THEIR KILLINGS IMMEDIATELY
Ashish Gupta/ PUDR
B D Sharma
G N Saibaba
Pushkar Raj, PUCL
Azad, the spokesperson of the Central Committee of CPI (Maoist) along with a freelance journalist, Hemant Pandey from Delhi was murdered in cold blood in the early hours of 2 July 2010. The circumstantial evidence clearly shows that both were caught in Nagpur by Central and Andhra Pradesh intelligence agencies in a joint operation and killed in custody. Later their bodies were thrown in the Sarkapalli forest in Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh by the police to cook up a story of an ‘armed encounter’.
According to the CPI (Maoist) sources, Azad, their spokesperson was caught by the intelligence agencies in Nagpur around 10 am on 1 July 2010. As per the family members of Hem Chandra Pandey, he left for Nagpur in the evening of 30 June 2010 to meet with his professional responsibilities as a journalist and hence thereafter remained incommunicado since the morning of 1st July.
On the morning of 2nd July, the Andhra Pradesh police cited the case of an armed encounter in the wee hours in the thick jungles of Adilabad district wherein two persons were killed. One of the deceased was identified as Azad alias Cherukuri Rajkumar while the other was declared unidentified.
It is not for the first time that a senior member of CPI (Maoist) was killed in this kind of a catch and kill operation by the intelligence agencies. What is strikingly shocking in this case is that Azad was approached by the Government of India through Swami Agnivesh towards facilitating the modalities of a ceasefire. It was, as evinced by the Government of India and the CPI (Maoist) party, the preliminary and crucial step towards initiating a dialogue with a view, at least, to suspend a major civil war situation in the history of post-1947 in the heartland of the country.
The killing of Azad angered those who have been wishing to see a genuine path towards a Peace Process to evolve in contrast to the military solution of the government to the resistance struggles of the adivasis in central and eastern parts of the country. This killing of a leader of a political party in captivity with impunity by the law enforcing agencies of the so-called largest democracy has attracted worldwide condemnation. Most people suspect that he was killed because the Government is not serious in its proposal to establish a ceasefire and initiate dialogue with the people who are waging a steadfast resistance against the destruction of their lives and livelihoods.
Thousands of intellectuals, journalists, writers, activists attended the funeral of Azad in Hyderabad and Hem Chandra Pandey in New Delhi unequivocally demanding an impartial judicial inquiry into the cold blooded murder of this messenger of peace and justice by the very Government who killed them.
Dumb struck by the killing of Azad, Swami Agnivesh—the interlocutor made by the Government of India with whom the former was communicating for a peace process—declared that Azad must have been traced down by the Government intelligence agencies through the very channels the latter was communicating sanctioned by the Home Ministry. His shock got consummated when Home Minister P. Chidambaram out rightly rejected the forthright demand of Swami Agnivesh for a judicial inquiry. The entire civil society was taken in by the criminal act of a government who had indulged in the worst crime of killing a leader and messenger with whom it was ostensibly working out a ceasefire which everyone believed and sincerely hoped will move towards a meaningful dialogue addressing the burning issues of the vast sections of the deprived of this country.
Azad as the spokesperson of the recently banned political formation in the country—CPI (Maoist)—has been known to one and all for more than a decade engaging in public debate on behalf of his party on many burning issues concerning the future of vast majority of the people through hundreds of press statements, articles and rejoinders.
In his letter dated 26 June to the Union Governments’ interlocutor, Azad broadly agreed for the ceasefire followed by a possible dialogue responding to the letter of offer for ceasefire and dialogue by the Union Home Minister written on 11 May 2010 addressed to Swami Agnivesh asking him to approach the banned CPI (Maoist).
The public meeting on 3 August 2010 will discuss the crucial issue of the unfolding scenario in the wake of the brutal murder of a messenger who was categorical to agree for peace with the very Government that had committed in paper towards setting up the peace process. Eminent intellectuals from the civil society who engaged in the process—while categorically opposing the Government’s policy of unbridled exploitation of natural resources in the tribal heartlands threatening their very extinction—will deliberate on this dangerous turn of events as the Government has once again failed before the people in fulfilling its commitment, as it claimed, as one who would leave no stone unturned for a lasting peace in the country. By its very act, the Government has once again proved before the peace loving people of this country that it hardly respects the burning concerns of the vast sections of toiling masses of this country who would want a life with justice, dignity and peace free from all forms of mistreatment, oppression and exploitation.
Institute judicial inquiry into the killing of Azad and Hem Chandra Pandey
Stop Operation Green Hunt
Withdraw Paramilitary Forces from Tribal and other regions
Make public all MoUs on minerals and other projects
Concerned Citizens &
Forum Against War on People