Maoist leader CP Jaleel was killed in a gunfight with Kerala Police’s Thunderbolt force Thursday near Upavan Resort at Lakkidi in Wayanad district of the state.
The Maoist gang had reportedly arrived near Vythiri in Wayanad district to extort money and provisions from the owner of the private resort. A Thunderbolt team, that had camped nearby after reports of Maoist movement in the area, engaged them in a gunfight late Wednesday night which is reported to have continued into the early hours of Thursday.
The gunfight took place in the premises of the large resort which is located adjacent to the national highway leading to Bengaluru.
”We have recovered the body of a Maoist near the site of the encounter. Another man has been seriously injured. We are still confirming his identity. Inquest proceedings are going on. Around eight members of the Maoist gang were involved in the gunfight,” a top police officer present at the spot said.
A Thunderbolt team had been stationed in the area after we received reports of Maoist movement in the Sugandhagiri jungles of Wayanad, the officer added. Top officials of the state police are currently at the spot, evaluating the situation.
Last month, a three-member Maoist gang, including wanted leader Sundari visited a house in Jeerakapara in Kozhikode district. They reportedly had a meal with the family before retreating into the forests near Thusharagiri.
In December last year, there were similar reports of a Maoist gang surfacing near Vazhikadavu in Malappuram district. They affixed posters against Hindu fascism on a public wall. They were alleged to be members of the Western Ghat Special Regional Committee of the CPI (Maoist). In 2016, Kuppu Devraj and his aide Kaveri, members of the CPI (Maoist), were gunned down in a police encounter in Nilambur forest region in what was considered a major success for the security forces. Devraj, who was a central committee member of the banned outfit, also was in-charge of the tri-junction area of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
The Thunderbolt is an elite commando wing of the India Reserve Battalion of the Kerala Police. Tasked with carrying out counterinsurgency operations in Kerala, the Thunderbolt was formed in the backdrop of the terror attacks in Mumbai. They are specially trained to carry out anti-Maoist operations and handle any level of security emergencies.