The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rights activist returns, tonsured

Hyderabad, Nov. 7: Confusion surrounds the “release” of K. Lakshman, president of the Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee. The activist returned home this afternoon with a tonsured head and bruises all over his body, but insisted he had not been kidnapped by the Tirumala Tigers, as was widely believed.

Lakshman was “kidnapped” in the heart of the capital last night by the outfit as it sought to win the release of Siraj, alias Azad, ex-deputy commander of a People’s War guerrilla squad.

The bullet-riddled body of Siraj, who had been dubbed a “covert agent of the police”, was found at Dongalakunta village in Guntur district this morning.

Adding to the mystery was a visibly shaken Lakshman’s insistence that his head was tonsured as he had visited the pilgrim centre of Yadagirigutta, 60 km from here, and offered his hair to the deity.

The activist would not explain how he came to have bruises over his body. His wife met chief minister . Chandrababu Naidu this morning, urging him to secure Lakshman’s release.

The Naxalites said they had killed Siraj because he had been working closely with the police. Siraj had recently provided the media and intelligence agencies with details about the movement of the People’s War dalams and the workings of its top brass.

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