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Jul 2, 2010 | 14:26 GMT

2 mins read

Brief: Indian Police Kill Senior Naxalite Leader

Indian police announced July 2 that they had killed a senior Naxalite leader in the far northwest corner of Andhra Pradesh state in an early morning raid. Cherukuri Rajkumar, who went by the alias "Azad," was a member of the central committee of the Communist Party of India-Maoist and acted as the group's spokesman on several occasions. He had been a member of the movement since its beginning in the 1960s. In his most recent exchange with the media on May 18, Azad claimed responsibility for a May 17 Naxalite attack on a civilian bus known to be carrying police forces and threatened that more civilians could be harmed if police continued to mix with civilians. Naxalites have typically tried to avoid civilian casualties, but Azad's statements indicated that they were not completely off limits, a sentiment that may have put a priority on his killing. Today's killing of Azad is a rare success by the Indian police — likely the Indian Central Reserve Police Force, which is most active in the area — who have suffered many more losses than the Naxalites in recent months. While this individual incident represents an intelligence success for Indian police, it does not indicate that the Indians have gained an advantage over Naxalites. Unless more Naxalite leaders are captured or killed, there is nothing that suggests Azad's killing is more than a one-off. Moreover, police in Naxalite-controlled areas are already under constant threat, and this will likely add more incentive for Naxalite forces to target police in the near future.

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