New Delhi, Jan 15 (Agencies): Observing that it cannot allow the Republic to kill its "own children", the Supreme Court on Saturday sought an "anwser" from the Centre and Andhra Pradesh government on the killings of top Maoist leader Azad and journalist Hemchandra Pandey in an alleged fake encounter.

"We cannot allow the Republic killing its own children," a bench of justices Aftab Alam and R M Lodha said.

The court made the observation while issuing notices to the Centre and the AP government on a petition filed by social activist Swami Agnivesh and Pandey's 30-year-old widow Babita seeking a judicial probe into the controversial killings six months ago.
 
Seeking the replies by the Centre and the AP government to the notices within six weeks, the bench said, "We hope there will be a answer. There will be a good and convincing answer."

"The government will have to answer so many questions," it said.

Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad, a senior member of banned CPI (Maoist) Central Committee, and Pandey, who was dubbed by the police as a Maoist, were killed in an alleged fake encounter on the intervening night of July 1-2, 2010, in Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh, close to Maharashtra.

Seeking a judicial probe into the killings, the petition alleged that the post-mortem reports of both the persons and a fact-finding exercise carried out by rights groups clearly indicate that the encounter was not genuine.

 
The petitioners referred to the fact-finding carried out by Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisations (CDRO), a national coalition of human rights organisations, that both were killed by the Andhra Pradesh Police in blatant violation of their rights under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.

The petitions alleged that Azad, 58, who carried a reward of Rs 12 lakh on his head and Pandey, 32 were killed from a very close range which is evident from the post-mortem reports of both the persons.