Jailed Maoist leader on hunger stir

BHUBANESWAR: Incarcerated Maoist leader Duna Keshav Rao alias Azad on Saturday launched a hunger strike inside Jharpada jail here, protesting against his confinement, jail sources said.

Inspector general (prisons) SS Hansda said Azad had submitted a representation earlier seeking his proper rehabilitation under the surrender policy and had threatened to start indefinite hunger strike from August 4 if his demands were not met. “We had forwarded his representation to the authorities concerned in the government. There are legal and policy issues involved,” Hansda added.

Azad has contended that he should be freed and rehabilitated as per the existing surrender policy since he had surrendered to the Andhra Pradesh police. Odisha police had “arrested” him after he was released by Andhra on parole in June last year. Azad has earlier said that he was not arrested but had surrendered. The rebel was first lodged in Nayagarh sub-jail before being shifted to Jharpada within days of his arrest.

The extremist’s mother, Dunna Kamallama, had staged a demonstration outside the Jharpada jail in March this year when the jail authorities allegedly prevented her from meeting him. Kamallama had then said that the rebel leader would start hunger strike demanding his release.

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