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Fact-finding team for Azad killing to release probe details Read more: ‘Fact-finding team’ for Azad killing to release probe details

Posted by Admin on August 22, 2010

Azad alias Cheukuri Raj Kumar CPI Maoist leader , CPIML, APRSUNAGPUR: A ‘fact-finding team,’ formed by democratic rights and civil liberties organizations to probe into the alleged fake encounter of Naxal leader and party spokesperson Azad and journalist Hem Chandra Pandey on July 1, is set to release their findings before the media at Hyderabad on Sunday.

The team, which began its probe on Saturday in Adilabad, was sent on the behalf 24 organizations espousing the cause of democratic rights and civil liberties. The probe members already visited the villages close to the Wankedi jungle where Azad and his journalist friend were gunned down. The controversy flared up recently when railway minister Mamta Banerjee cornered the security agencies by supporting the claim of Naxals and pro-Maoist organizations that Azad was ‘murdered.’

“The autopsy report (of Azad) suggested that the entry and exit wounds were narrow in diameter, indicating that bullets were fired from close range. In case of a real encounter, the diameter of bullet wounds and exit points would be different, establishing the fact that the encounter was fake,” said activist Kranti Chetan, general secretary of Andhra Pradesh civil liberties committee.

The allegations of pro-Naxal front organizations were that Azad and Pandey were picked up by Andhra Pradesh-based security and intelligence agencies from Nagpur railway station on July 1. They were later taken to Adilabad and gunned down. The activists had rubbished outright the claim of security agencies that Azad and Pandey were intercepted while crossing over to Adilabad from Maharashtra and killed after an exchange of fire.

Protests of pro-Maoist organizations and civil liberty bodies against Azad’s killing, Operation Green Hunt and government of India’s ‘anti-tribal’ policy also gathered steam in the recent past. International rights organizations held protests in London, New York and California coinciding with the Indian Independence day to highlight the issue.

The ‘fact-finding team’ also visited Wankedi police station to scrutinize the FIR report of the encounter. “We are about to meet the investigating officer and forensic experts too,” said Chetan.

“There were barely any sounds of gun shots that villagers could recall hearing. Someone of Azad’s stature was expected to move with considerable security of armed cadres. In that case, heavy exchange of fire would be expected and not just a couple of gunshots. Moreover, Pandey was wearing chappals. One cannot expect someone to trudge in the jungle with chappals on,” said Chetan.TOI

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