The alleged fake encounter of senior Maoist leader Cherukuri Rajkumar, alias Azad, finally reached Indian Parliament on 10 August thanks to the rally organised in West Bengal’s Lalgarh by Mamata Banerjee and social activists like Swami Agnivesh. There, Mamata termed Azad’s killing a murder. Opposition parties, mainly the BJP, raised this issue in Parliament, asking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to come clean on Azad. Though it is clear that the BJP has no interest in finding out the truth behind Azad’s death, it has realised that it can create a headache for the Congress by cleverly drawing parallels with the Sohrabuddin case in Gujarat.
Notwithstanding the BJP and its opportunism, it would do Indian democracy good if a judicial probe into Azad’s death is announced. While Home Minister P Chidamabaram had outright rejected this demand, Manmohan Singh had promised Swami Agnivesh, who was invited by the Home Ministry to initiate a dialogue with Maoists, that something will be done in this regard. However, many days have passed and there has been no word on it so far.
On August 10 itself, the Prime Minister finally reached out to Kashmiri youth in a televised address, assuring them that the Centre had all good intentions for the people of Kashmir. But, so far, none of this has been done for people who have been torn apart by the endless cycle of violence in Naxal areas. Ordering a probe into Azad’s death could be a very good beginning.