''We cannot allow the Republic killing its own children'': SC

New Delhi, Jan 14 (PTI) Observing that it cannot allowthe Republic to kill its "own children", the Supreme Courttoday sought an "anwser" from the Centre and Andhra Pradeshgovernment on the killings of top Maoist leader Azad andjournalist Hemchandra Pandey in an alleged fake encounter.

"We cannot allow the Republic killing its ownchildren," a bench of justices Aftab Alam and R M Lodha said.

The court made the observation while issuing notices tothe Centre and the AP government on a petition filed by socialactivist Swami Agnivesh and Pandey''s 30-year-old widow Babitaseeking a judicial probe into the controversial killings sixmonths ago.

Seeking the replies by the Centre and the AP governmentto the notices within six weeks, the bench said, "We hopethere will be a answer. There will be a good and convincinganswer."

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

Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad, a senior member ofbanned CPI (Maoist) Central Committee, and Pandey, who wasdubbed by the police as a Maoist, were killed in an allegedfake encounter on the intervening night of July 1-2, 2010, inAdilabad district of Andhra Pradesh, close to Maharashtra.

Seeking a judicial probe into the killings, thepetition alleged that the post-mortem reports of both thepersons and a fact-finding exercise carried out by rightsgroups clearly indicate 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 alleged that Azad, 58, who carried areward of Rs 12 lakh on his head and Pandey, 32 were killedfrom a very close range which is evident from the post-mortemreports of both the persons.

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