Congress distances from Mamata’s remark on Azad’s death

August 10th, 2010 - 9:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Mamata Banerjee New Delhi, Aug 10 (IANS) Distancing itself from Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee’s remark referring to Maoist spokesman Azad’s death in a shootout as a “murder”, the Congress said Tuesday that anyone who had apprehensions about it should approach the courts or the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
“It is not our job to say if an administrative action was an encounter or a fake encounter… The party has never been a supporter of fake encounters. There are institutions in the county. NHRC and courts have specific mandates. If anybody has concerns, they can approach (these institutions),” Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said here.

He also attacked the Left Front government in West Bengal over reports of the presence of Leftwing ultras in Banerjee’s Lalgarh rally Monday, saying that if “they were Maoists, what prevented the West Bengal police from arresting them”.

“Why were officers content only with videographing them. If there were people accused of crimes, it (the police) should have arrested them,” Tewari said.

Asked about the appropriateness of a minister levelling allegations of a “fake encounter”, Tewari said that Banerjee too had the option of moving courts or the NHRC.

“If an ally has a perception about an issue, the same benchmark also applies to the ally,” he said.

Tewari added that Banerjee had made it clear that she did not support Maoist violence.

“Every party has a right to run its activities in a democratic way and people should not get swayed by misrepresentations,” he said, adding that a public rally was an event for which invitation cards were not issued.

He said that talk of development in areas where Maoists were present was in line with the government’s policies.

Maoist leader Cherukuri Rajkumar, alias Azad, was killed in Andhra Pradesh July 2. Banerjee referred to the killing as a murder while addressing the “apolitical” rally in Lalgarh Monday.

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