Maoist leader Azad’s hunger strike in Odisha jail enters sixth day

Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 4:

The indefinite hunger strike called by Maoist leader D Keshav Rao alias Azad inside Jharpada Special Jail in Odisha capital entered the sixth day today.

jharpada jail

Azad, along with six others, is on a hunger strike since March 30 demanding fulfillment of five-point charter of demand including a speedy trial of cases against them.

According to sources, the health condition of the agitators is deteriorating. His mother D Kamullama, relatives and lawyer Dilli Rao today visited the jail to meet him.

Notably, Azad is lodged in Jharpada jail here since 2011 and it is the fourth fast inside the jail in the past five years.

A day after Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) directed the prisons directorate, home department and DGP to take steps to end the strike by under trial prisoners (UTPs), ADG (prisons) Arun Kumar Ray yesterday visited the Jharpada jail and tried to convince them to end their hunger strike.

Meanwhile, Azad’s lawyer has alleged that Odisha police and their Andhra Pradesh counterparts have conspired to put his client behind bars for a prolonged period.

“The Odisha police are making no efforts to expedite my client’s case. They have produced only one witness against him. The police are not filing charge sheet against him. Rather, filing new cases against him,” Rao said.

We have filed a criminal case against the police who claimed that they have arrested Azad from Bhubaneswar whereas he was taken from the office of Palasa DSP in the presence of the SP, local MLA and some other leaders. He was handed over to the Odisha police. It was a conspiracy hatched by Odisha and AP police, he added.

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