Maoists say their spokesman is safe and alive


New Delhi: The outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) said Sunday that its spokesman who it claimed was missing and may have been killed was safe after all.

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The “Northern Regional Bureau” of the party said in a statement that it was incorrect to say that Azad, whose real name is Cherkuri Rajkumar, was “under illegal detention”.

It said the earlier statement was based on information from two party colleagues, Gudsa Usendi and Pratap.

“Azad was supposed to meet Shakamuri Apparao alias Ravi somewhere in Maharashtra. Azad did not reach there. Since he could not give feedback to the concerned comrades, there was this confusion,” the statement said.

“It is natural to get suspicion in the present conditions,” it said, referring to a sweeping crackdown launched against the party in several states.

It accused the police of catching party leaders Apparao and Kondal Reddy in Chennai and Pune respectively and killing them in cold blood.

The statement said the claim about Azad’s alleged detention and possible killing “was a genuine mistake (by) our Central Regional Bureau and DK Special Zonal Committee”.

“The incorrectness occurred owing to the conditions we are in,” it said.

Earlier, Azad’s mother Karuna moved the Andhra Pradesh State Human Rights Commission seeking directions to the police to produce him before a court.

Azad, a politburo member, was reportedly untraceable since March 12, leading the rebels to believe that he may have been arrested and killed by the security forces.