Prominent social activist Swami Agnivesh Friday met Home Minister P Chidambaram and demanded a judicial inquiry into the death of top Maoist leader Azad and his associate, killed in an alleged police encounter a few days back.
The demand, however, was turned down by Chidambaram saying such a step could only be taken by the Andhra Pradesh government as the encounter took place in Adilabad, Agnivesh told reporters after the meeting.
Agnivesh, terming Azad's death as a setback to the Naxal peace process, also said had it not been this "encounter" the Maoists led by Azad, would have announced a 72-hour ceasefire.
Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad, a senior member of CPI (Maoist) Central Committee was gunned down by Andhra Pradesh police along with another associate Hem Chandra Pandey on July two in a police encounter.
While the police said Pandey was a Naxal, his family and friends have said that he was a freelance journalist and he was killed in an encounter which was "fake".
"I was in touch with Azad. His death is a setback to the entire talk and peace process. Had his death not taken place, the Maoists would have announced a 72-hours ceasefire with the government," Agnivesh told reporters after meeting Chidambaram.
The need of the hour is to continue the peace process. Innocent people are getting killed, he said.
"Chidambaram told me that innocent civilians and villagers are being killed by Naxals by labelling them as informers and something should be done to stop this violence," Agnivesh said.