Stating that the 85-year-old mother of Maoist leader Koteswar Rao alias Kishenji is “waiting to see her son's body”, his niece Deepa appealed to the West Bengal Government here on Friday to make arrangements so that his body could be taken back to Andhra Pradesh.
“My grandmother has not seen her son for 30 years… Our family is waiting, the people are waiting to see him,” Ms. Deepa said, praying that the process is expedited as the body would start decomposing. She requested that the body be airlifted to Hyderabad after which it could be taken to Peddapalli, Kishenji's hometown, in Karimnagar district.
Asked by journalists whether the body would be sent there, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's response was a cryptic “yes.”
Alleging that Kishenji was killed in a “fake encounter”, Ms. Deepa claimed that it was the West Bengal government's responsibility to at least ensure that his body was returned to his family.
Revolutionary poet Varavara Rao, who accompanied Ms. Deepa, demanded that all the stipulations of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) regarding the post-mortem should be adhered to. He demanded that a case of culpable homicide under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code be registered against the security forces.
Ms. Deepa, Mr. Rao and two human rights activists met West Bengal Home Secretary G.D. Gautama at the State Secretariat during the day with their demands.
“Mr. Gautama has assured us that the State government will follow all the stipulations of the NHRC. The post mortem will be carried out at the district hospital at Midnapore on Saturday and Ms. Deepa will be allowed to identify the body,” Mr. Rao said after the meeting.
Addressing a rally later in the day, Mr. Rao said that by demanding the return of Kishenji's body, “we are not asking for anything beyond democratic policies.”
“In Andhra Pradesh, for the last 43 years the police and the government are indulging in fake encounters. At least after the encounter, it has observed certain democratic rules,” Mr. Rao said, adding that the government took the responsibility of informing the families, properly conducting the post-mortem and handing over the bodies.