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Amid a controversy over the gunning down of two alleged Maoists, a court on Monday asked the authorities in Kerala to preserve their bodies until Tuesday evening. The court said it will deliver its verdict by Tuesday evening.
The court issued the instruction while hearing a petition filed by several human rights activists and the brother of one of the killed Maoists, who claim that this was a fake encounter, unlike what is claimed by Kerala Police. Police said it was only after the Maoists opened fire that they retaliated and shot the two dead.
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Incidentally, a court in Kozhikode had earlier asked police to preserve the bodies until Monday evening, following which they have been kept in the mortuary of the state-run Kozhikode Medical College Hospital. Monday is the fifth day since the Kerala Thunderbolts — an elite commando force of the state police — during a patrol in the deep forests of Nilambur, reportedly shot dead the two ultras, Koppam Devarajan and Ajitha alias Kaveri.
After the incident, the Communist Party of India (CPI) — the second biggest ally of the ruling Pinarayi Vijayan-led LDF government — criticised the killings, after which various human rights activists took up the issue. The local media houses also received a call from a person identifying himself as a Maoist, who said that this is a case of fake encounter.
Senior BJP leader V. Muraleedharan, in a statement on Monday, asked the Communist Party of India-Marxist to end playing hide and seek on the issue. “Whenever such incidents happen in other states, the CPI-M is the first to react by saying that it is a fake encounter. For the first time, this has happened here, but even Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is silent.
“All he said is that information is still coming in. He should break his silence,” said Muraleedharan, a former state BJP chief. The Kerala government has announced a crime branch police probe into the incident.
The Congress party has demanded a judicial probe into the killings.