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Updated: July 8, 2010 00:57 IST

Hemchandra Pande cremated

Staff Reporter
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Babita Pandey, wife of Hem Chandra Pandey who was killed in an encounter in Andhra Pradesh along with prominent Naxal leader Azad, breaks down near his body, in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo:PTI
PTI Babita Pandey, wife of Hem Chandra Pandey who was killed in an encounter in Andhra Pradesh along with prominent Naxal leader Azad, breaks down near his body, in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo:PTI

The body of Hemchandra Pande, who was killed along with Maoist leader Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad, was cremated at the Nigammmbodh Ghat here on Wednesday afternoon.

Civil liberties activists, who attended a condolence meeting earlier in the morning, demanded an investigation by an independent judicial tribunal into the deaths of Pande and Azad.

Pande's wife, Babita, who spoke at the meeting, said a judicial enquiry by the Central government might reveal the truth about the “murders.”

Ms. Pande said she would not trust any inquiry conducted by the Andhra Pradesh police, which she alleged had “killed” Pande without even knowing his identity or true name.

“The A.P. police initially gave his identification as Sahadev, which they were forced to change,” said Ms. Pande. She also reiterated that he worked as a freelance journalist.

Hemchandra Pande's brother, Rajiv Pande, who works as a journalist in a Hindi publication, said the residents of the village, where the A.P. police said the encounter happened, had reported they had heard no sounds of gunshots.

An NGO that conducted an independent inquiry had also dismissed the police assertion of an encounter, Mr. Rajiv Pande added.

Writer and social activist Arundhati Roy, who spoke at the meeting, said the police should have arrested Azad and tried in court in accordance with the laws of the land.

A number of journalists from Pande's home State of Uttarakhand and Delhi attended the condolence meeting.

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