Maoist spokesperson Kishenji on Sunday accused the central government of jeopardising prospects of peace talks with the CPI(Maoist) by killing his politburo colleague Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad in a “false encounter” on July 1.
Kishenji said Azad was actively brokering peace talks and alleged that the police killed him in the forests of Adilabad in Andhra Pradesh after arresting him in Nagpur weeks ago.
“He has been killed in cold blood on Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s directive,” the fugitive Kishenji said in a recorded message made available to HT through his colleague, Raju.
The Andhra Police had claimed on Friday that they had killed Azad and his associate Sahdeo in an exchange of fire.
Azad, who was underground for more than 20 years, was a member of the CPI(Maoist) central committee and coordinated between committee members and the politburo.
Azad, who was considered very close to party chief Muppala Laxman Rao alias Ganapathy, had reportedly offered to negotiate talks with the Centre through social activist Swami Agnivesh. Kishenji too had sent a missive to the Home Ministry offering talks under some conditions.
“Congress is a big betrayer,” Kishenji said, adding Azad had been meeting the Maoists’ zonal and regional committee leaders to convince them to agree for peace talks with the central and state governments. “How do we trust the Congress when they order killing our leaders in cold blood?” Kishenji asked.
Maoists cry revenge
The CPI (Maoist) on Sunday vowed to avenge the death of Azad. “Azad was murdered brutally by the Intelligence Bureau and Special Intelligence Bureau of Andhra Pradesh with knowledge of Home Minister P. Chidambaram,” a statement issued by the CPI (Maoist) said.