4 Maoists were shot and killed by Kerala Police

On October 29, the Kerala Police gunned down three Maoists near Agali in Kerala’s Palakkad district. They killed Manivasakam and Karthik from Tamil Nadu and Sreemati and Suresh from Karnataka

One more Maoist leader was killed on Tuesday in an alleged ‘encounter’ with Kerala’s specialised Thunderbolt police in a forest area near Attapady here, taking the number who died in the police killings in the last two days to four (Manivasakam and Karthik from Tamil Nadu and Sreemati and Suresh from Karnataka), police said.

The gunfight broke out on Tuesday morning while a team was conducting an inquest into the death of three Maoists, including a woman, killed in an encounter in the area on Monday, a senior police official told PTI.

“The bodies of the four have been brought out from the deep forest and the post-mortem will be performed at the Thrissur Medical College Hospital,” the official said.

None of the members of the Thunderbolt was injured in the present police killings, taken up based on a tip-off about presence of Maoists in the area, the police official added.

Thunderbolts is an elite commando force of the Kerala Police under the India Reserve Battalion.

The ‘encounter’ killings echoed in the Kerala Assembly where the Opposition Congress on Tuesday alleged the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) has made it a policy to eliminate the insurgents instead of bringing them to justice.

Making a mention of the deaths during a debate, Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said that during the previous Congress-rule, they had captured two wanted Maoists — Rupesh and Shina — instead of killing them in “fake encounters”.

“When a Left government is ruling, such fake encounters are taking place. While we were in power, we captured them instead of killing them,” Chennithala said adding since the Pinarayi Vijayan government came to power in 2016, a number of naxals have been killed.

Later speaking to reporters outside the assembly, he said Congress was opposed to the ideologies of Maoists. “But we cannot agree to the fake encounters to kill them,” he added.

Maoist leader C P Jaleel was killed early in March this year in an exchange of fire with police personnel at a resort in Wayanad. Jaleel’s elder brother CP Rasheed said the inquest report proves that the police had a conspiracy to kill him. He also said that a case should be registered against the police for the murder. According to reports, the police had said that Jaleel and another Maoist came to the resort and demanded money and food. As per an official of the resort, the Maoists had not created any problem for staff or guests and also denied rumours that they were kept hostage by the cadres.

Two other Maoists were killed in a similar ‘encounter’ in 2016. The Kerala Thunderbolts first gunned down Kuppu Devaraj and Ajitha in Nilambur in Malappuram district. Kuppu Devaraj was a senior member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), and Ajitha was a woman leader of the group’s Karnataka wing. human rights activists and family of the dead alleged foul play in the murders. “Their bodies had more than one bullet marks and it showed that gunshots were intended to kill them. Moreover, none of the cops sustained injuries. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan supported the police action while his coalition partner CPI’s leader Kanam Rajendran decried the killing

All the three encounters have a few striking similarities. After the encounters, police would claim that Maoists had fired at them and they did not have any other option but to retaliate. The government would announce crime branch and magisterial inquiries only after human rights activists and relatives raised doubts about the deaths. The government would not show any interest in publishing the probe reports.

On Manorama, 29 October 2019

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