Citizens’ Statement on the Assassination of Azad

On 2nd July, from the electronic media and today from the press, we have come to know of the killing of Cherukuri Rajkumar aka Azad and Hemachandra Pandey in an exchange of fire with the police in Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh.

However, the press has reported sources (The Hindu, 3 July 2010) that have questioned the encounter theory. We have reasons to pay attention to this point of view since villagers around Sarkepalli (Adilabad district), the purported place of exchange of fire, are reported not to have heard any sound of firing between 10 pm on 1 July 2010 and 2 am on 2 July 2010 (The Times of India, 3 July 2010).

It will be pertinent to point out that the Mr P Chidambaram vide his letter that has been reported in the press had requested the help of Swami Agnivesh to reach out to the CPI (Maoist) and to persuade them to accept the Government’s offer for talks. Swami Agnivesh’s efforts received favourable response and in a letter reported in the press, Azad had written to the former that they look forward to positive results.

We believe that there are vested interests within the Government who want to escalate the armed conflict and scuttle the peace process and the killing of Azad is a deplorable act towards scuttling the talks.

We, the signatories to this statement, believe that peace is the only way out of the present conflict and the road to peace lies through a path of mutual negotiations. We appeal to the good sense of all the citizens of the country to join us in condemning encounter killings and to work towards an environment where cessation of armed hostilities and negotiations for peace are the only way forward.

16 July 2010

Hiren Gohain, academic;
Madhu Bhaduri, retired diplomat;
Amit Bhaduri, academic;
Sourin Bhattacharya, author;
Tarun Sanyal, academic;
Bibhash Chakrabarty, theatre personality;
Paresh Chattopadhyay, academic;
Subhendu Dasgupta, academic;
Sumanta Banerjee, author;
Meher Engineer, academic;
Nandini Sundar, academic;
Rajinder Sachar, retired justice;
Gautam Navlakha, journalist;
Bernard D’Mello, journalist;
Amiya Dev, academic;
Randhir Singh, academic;
Kamal Mitra Chenoy, academic;
Ujjwal Kumar, academic;
K G Kannabiran, advocate, civil liberties activist;
Sujato Bhadra, civil liberties activist;
Dipanjan Rai Chaudhuri, academic;
Timir Basu, journalist;
G N Saibaba, academic;
Anirban Kar, academic;
Francis Adaikalam, academic;
Partho Sarothi Ray, academic.

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