Maoist leaders gunned down in Andhra Pradesh

     In a major blow, two Maoist leaders including their spokesperson Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad was killed in an encounter in Andhra Pradesh's Adilabad district early this morning. According to sources, the encounter took place inside the Andhra Pradesh border in Jogapur forest area. Azad, who carried a reward of Rs.12 lakh on his head, was a member of the central committee of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist ( CPI -Maoist). Hailing from Krishna district, he was associated with the Maoist movement for four decades. Azad, who did his MTech in Warangal , used to write articles for magazines on Maoist ideology. The other slain Maoist is suspected to be Chandrana, also a member of the central committee. But the police are yet to confirm his identity. An AK 47 and some small fire arms have been found at the encounter site. Following Azad's death, security agencies have sounded a high alert in Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Chhatttisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and West Bengal . Meanwhile, Maoist sympathiser and revolutionary poet Varavara Rao said that he along with Azad's mother would file a petition in the High Court seeking that the body be shifted to Hyderabad.

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