ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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'Republic Killing Its Own Children'

Has the Indian state decided that elimination of the leadership is the way to respond to the Maoists?

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, and officials of the central and state governments down the line have all been bent on establishing one point – that the claimed encounter in the Burishol forest 10 km from the West Bengal-Jharkhand border in which Mallojula Koteswara Rao, popularly known by his nom de guerre Kishenji, was supposed to have been killed was “real”. Frankly, given that the news reports have only reproduced what the police have put out, the circumstances of his death must be accepted for now as unknown.

The renowned radical Telugu poet Varavara Rao who accompanied Kishenji’s niece to bring the body back to his hometown of Peddapalli in Karimnagar district of Andhra Pradesh is reported to have said: “In the last 43 years, I have seen so many bodies killed in so-called encounters but have not seen a body like this one...There is no place on the body where there is no injury” (The Hindu, 27 November). Human rights activists who saw the body before the commencement of the post-mortem also claim that the body carried injuries of numerous kinds – bullet, knife and burns – all over. One must await the results of the autopsy for an assessment of whether the “encounter” was a cold-blooded murder or a killing under police fire.

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