SC issues notice on plea for probe into Maoists'' killings

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New Delhi, Jan 14 (PTI) Upset over "the republickilling its own children", the Supreme Court today sought theresponse of the Centre and the Andhra Pradesh government on aplea for judicial probe into the killings of top Maoist leaderCherukuri Rajkumar and journalist Hemchandra Pandey in analleged fake encounter six months ago.

"We cannot allow the republic killing its ownchildren," a bench of justices Aftab Alam and R M Lodha saidwhile issuing notices to the Centre and and the stategovernment on a petition filed by social activist SwamiAgnivesh and Pandey''s 30-year-old widow Babita.

Seeking the two governments'' replies to the petitionwithin six weeks, the bench said, "We hope there will be aanswer. There will be a good and convincing answer."

"The government will have to answer so manyquestions," it said.

Rajkumar alias Azad, a senior member of banned CPI(Maoist) Central Committee, and Pandey, who was dubbed by thepolice as a Maoist, were killed in an alleged fake encounteron the intervening night of July 1-2, 2010, in Adilabaddistrict of Andhra Pradesh, close to Maharashtra.

Seeking judicial probe into the killings, the petitionalleged that the post-mortem reports of both the persons and afact-finding exercise carried out by rights groups clearlyindicate that the encounter was not genuine.

The petitioners referred to the fact-finding carriedout by Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisations (CDRO),a national coalition of human rights organisations, that bothwere killed by the Andhra Pradesh Police in blatant violationof their rights under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.

The petitions listed for hearing on January 14 allegedthat Azad, 58, who carried a reward of Rs 12 lakh on his headand Pandey, 32 were killed from a very close range which isevident from the post-mortem reports of both the persons.PTIRB RKS ABA RAX

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