Simdega (Jharkhand), July 6 (ANI): Maoists have called for a 48-hour shutdown from Wednesday in protest of the killing of their leader Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad.
Several services, however, such as railways, milk, ambulance and fire services have been exempted from the shutdown.
"A senior leader of Maoists was killed in a police encounter in Andhra Pradesh. They are very upset with their leader's death. Comrade Azad is the name they called him by, and he was a member of central committee and a part of the politburo. They are really disappointed that they have lost a very senior leader. So in response to this they have called a 48-hour nationwide shutdown on July 7," said Barun Kumar, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Simdega district.
Police gunned down Azad on July 2, two days after Maoists killed 27 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in Chhattisgarh state.
Top Maoist leader Kishenji claimed that Azad was arrested along with another Maoist, Sukdebm from Nagpur district of Maharashtra, and later the duo was shot dead.
However, the Andhra Pradesh police claimed that Azad was shot dead in an encounter.
Azad, who carried a reward of Rs 1.2 million on his head was linked to the Maoist movement for more than 35 years, and used to write articles for magazines on Maoist ideology.
Maoist attacks have increased this year, especially after the Government launched a coordinated security offensive involving tens of thousands of police trying to flush out the rebels from their jungle hideouts in central and eastern India.
he Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) on Sunday vowed to take revenge over the death of its leader Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad in Andhra Pradesh"s Adilabad District.
"Azad was murdered brutally by Intelligence Bureau of the Central Government and Special Intelligence Bureau (SIB) of Andhra Pradesh with complete knowledge of Union home minister P Chidambaram," a statement issued by the CPI-Maoist said.
The Maoists have also called for a 48-hour "All India shutdown" from July 7 to protest Azad"s killing. he Andhra Pradesh police reportedly shot dead Azad in an encounter in the Jogapur forest area early on Friday morning, while he was attempting to cross into the neighbouring Maharashtra.
Azad was a member of the central committee of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) and carried a reward of 1.2 million rupees on his head.
Azad, who did his MTech in Warangal, was linked to the Maoist movement for more than 35 years and used to write articles for magazines on Maoist ideology.
There are reports that Azad was assigned the task of revising the Maoist movement in India. (ANI)