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Swami Agnivesh considers Maoist leader Azad's death a "serious blow" to peace initiatives

By Nairita Das

Lucknow, July 19 (ANI): Swami Agnivesh, who made efforts to be a peace negotiator between the government and Maoists, said here on Monday the killing of Maoist politburo member Cherukuri Rajkumar, alias Azad was a "serious blow" to peace initiatives between the government and the Maoists.

He said that Azad's death has created an environment of distrust among Maoists, and it is the duty of the government to create a healthy atmosphere for the discussion again.

"Maoists say that the encounter was a fake one, whereas the government says that it was not fabricated. In this kind of situation, it is usually seen that an inquiry is set up under the check of the court and therefore, I have requested Home Minister P. Chidambaram to do the same," said Agnivesh.

Agnivesh wants a judicial inquiry to be held by the government over the death of Azad.

"I would request Home Minister that if he has even one percent of suspicion over the encounter, or if anybody else other than he has a doubt, then he must go for an inquiry into the case. Or else it would be a big disgrace on the face of an elected body of governance in a democratic government" he added.

Agnivesh said Chidambaram had called him on May 11, and had handed over a confidential letter asking him to mediate between the federal government and the Maoists.

Azad was killed in the Jogapur forest area of Andhra Pradesh's Adilabad District, while attempting to cross into neighbouring Maharashtra.

He 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.

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

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