A Congress MP from Orissa today said an inquiry into the encounter of top Maoist leader Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad was necessary to keep alive the "honest" initiatives of engaging Naxalites in a dialogue.
"At a time when talks for a dialogue(with naxalites) were on and some naxalite was trying to take initiative in this direction, someone like Azad is killed. It then becomes necessary to conduct an inquiry to keep initiatives and honest efforts alive in a democracy," Congress MP Niyamgiri Bhakta Charan Das said.
"Why can't it be done?", he said at a conference on 'Maoist Challenge' organised jointly by Global Centre of Tension Diffusion and Peace Initiatives (TENDIFF) and Central Association of Private Security Industry (CAPSI) in New Delhi.
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 an encounter.
Prominent social activist Swami Agnivesh had on July 9 demanded a judicial inquiry into the killing. He, however, had said that the demand was turned down by Home Minister P Chidambaram, saying such a step could only be taken by the Andhra Pradesh government as the encounter took place in Adilabad.
Das, a former union minister, claimed that the encounter of Azad has created a "incredible situation" at a time when initiatives were being taken by various quarters to engage Maoists in a dialogue with the government.
"Government is addressing several among us in this regard and our initiatives are failed. (An) encounter is carried out. It creates an incredible situation," the MP from Kalahandi said.
"....when a dialogue can be initiated with China and Pakistan, why not with the one here from whom peace can be bought," he added.
Das also opposed use of force against Maoists. "We cannot solve the (Maoist) issue through violence in the sensitive areas of forest. I oppose it."
Speaking at the conference, Congress leader and former MP from Madhya Pradesh's Bundelkhand Dev Vrat Chaturvedi agreed that there should be a dialogue between government and Maoists but said, "to initiate it, there has to be an honest environment and mutual trust."
He said that Maoists should first abjure violence and surrender their weapons before expecting a dialogue with the government.