Maoists call for 48-hour 'all India shutdown' over Azad's death

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New Delhi, July 4 (ANI): The Maoists have called for a 48-hour 'All India shutdown' from July 7 to protest against the killing of Maoist leader Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad in Andhra Pradesh's Adilabad District.

Top Maoist leader Kishenji made the announcement on Sunday, asserting that Azad was arrested from Nagpur along with another Maoist Sukdeb and taken 150 kilometers away to Adilabad, where the duo was shot dead.

"Azad had been proceeding to Dandakaranya for a meeting of the CPI (Maoist) central committee when he was caught by the police," said Kishenji from an undisclosed location.

Railways, milk, ambulance and fire services have, however, been exempted from the shutdown.

The Andhra Pradesh police reportedly shot dead Azad in an encounter in the Jogapur forest area early on Friday morning, while he was attempting to cross into the neighbouring Maharashtra.

Azad was a member of the central committee of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) and carried a reward of 1.2 million rupees on his head.

Azad, who did his MTech in Warangal, was linked to the Maoist movement for more than 35 years and used to write articles for magazines on Maoist ideology.

There are reports that Azad was assigned the task of revising the Maoist movement in India.

Meanwhile, there are also reports that Azad's death could could lead to reprisal attacks in Maoist strongholds in Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal following which the security agencies have sounded a high alert across these five States.

Maoist attacks have increased this year, especially after the Government launched a coordinated security offensive involving tens of thousands of police trying to flush out the rebels from their jungle hideouts in central and eastern India. (ANI)

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