South Asia

Indian Supreme Court orders Azad killing inquiry

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India's Supreme Court has given the government six weeks to explain the circumstances under which a prominent Maoist was killed last year.

Cherukuri Rajkumar was acting as an intermediary to set up peace talks between the Maoists and the Indian government when he was shot dead.

One judge said the state could not be allowed to kill its own children.

Human rights activists alleged the victim, also known as Azad, was killed by police after he had been detained.

The Supreme Court has asked the central government and the state administration in Andhra Pradesh to explain how Azad died last July in the Adilabad forests of Andhra Pradesh.

He was number two in the rebel hierarchy in the state and a spokesman for the Maoists.

The Maoists, also known as Naxalites, say they are fighting for the rights of rural poor who have been neglected by the government for decades.

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