While Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Wednesday told the Kerala Assembly that police had fired at the Maoists for self-defence, the ruling coalition LDF’s ally CPI sought a judicial probe into the firing, which it alleged was a fake encounter.
Four Maoists were killed in an encounter with Kerala police commando force Thunderbolt at Attappadi forest over the last two days — three on Monday and another on Tuesday.
Replying to an adjournment motion moved by the Opposition, Vijayan said police were forced to fire at Maoists for self-defence. He said police were forced to retaliate when the Maoists targeted them. On Tuesday, when police were searching for the dead, Maoists hiding in the forest fired at the police and another Maoist was killed, he said. Police recovered several weapons, including AK-47, the CM said.
However, CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran took strong exception to the CM’s version. “Thunderbolt had fired at the Maoists from a close range when they were having food at a tent. Senior Maoist Manivasakam was so indisposed that he could not even walk. There should be a judicial probe into this fake encounter. We have obtained reliable information that the encounter was fake. The capital punishment given by Thunderbolt could not be agreed to at any cost,” Rajendran told the media.
He said the police version that Maoists had an AK-47 is unbelievable. “Not a single policeman was injured in the incident. Maoists are not enemies of Communism or revolution. They are brethren gone astray. CPI agrees with the people’s issues being raised by Maoists,” the CPI state secretary said.
Meanwhile, relatives of the slain Maoists are exploring legal options. Relatives of Sreemathi alias Rama demanded another postmortem of the bodies. “Police denied us a chance to identify the bodies before the postmortem. They have violated all laid down procedures. We would appeal before the Palakkad district collector seeking a re-postmortem,” said Vasanthi, Sreemathi’s relative.
This was the third incident of Maoists being killed in a police encounter under the present LDF regime.