In a bid to restart talks with Naxals, Swami Agnivesh has sought the help of Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi.
For this, Agnivesh made a specific request: Gandhi should help in the setting up of a judicial probe into the death of top Maoist operative Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad in a police encounter in July in Andhra Pradesh, which effectively suspended the talk process.
Agnivesh, who has been acting as an interlocutor for the government and the Maoists, revealed this to HT. Azad was killed in an encounter with police in Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh on July 1.
"Rahul Gandhi assured me that he would speak to the Prime Minister about my request to set up a judicial probe into Azad’s fake encounter," said Agnivesh, who added that he had a "very fruitful meeting" with the Congress leader at his residence for around half-an- hour.
Agnivesh said the alleged "fake encounter" has created a trust deficit among the Maoists, the government and him. "The Maoists feel that the Andhra Pradesh police’s Special Intelligence Branch (SIB) could track and kill Azad since he was communicating with me through human couriers," he said.
"The setting up of an impartial, judicial probe would allay the suspicions of the Maoists and nudge them towards talks, again," said Agnivesh. The Maoists have decided against engaging in a direct talk with Agnivesh after Azad’s death, according to him.
Agnivesh and Azad were working towards a mutual cessation of hostilities or ceasefire leading to a final agreement, according to him. With the consent of the Centre, Agnivesh had also roped in Maoist ideologues Kobad Ghandy and Narayan Sanyal towards this end.