Mr. Pouran, who is an advocate, said as per the NHRC norms any such encounter has to be probed by an investigation agency that was independent of the police involved in the encounter

The Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisations (CDRO) has termed as murder the death of suspected Maoist Yellappa in an encounter with the Anti-Naxal Force personnel in Cheru Forest in Dakshina Kannada – Hassan border on September 4.

The CDRO has come to this conclusion on the basis of fact-finding report prepared by a four member team comprising of P. Sriram from People’s Democratic Front Karnataka, P.A. Pouram from People’s Union for Civic Liberties Kerala, K. Kranthi Chaitanya from Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee and S. Gopal from Centre for Protection of Civil Liberties Tamil Nadu.

Talking to reporters here on Saturday, Mr. Gopal said their findings were based on information they gathered from the police and by meeting residents of Kulkunta and Palligadde villages that are close to the place of encounter. “There is nothing to show that there has been exchange of fire. First firing has been from the ANF personnel, who are in possession of sophisticated weapons,” he said. The incident appears to be a cold-blooded murder of the suspected Maoist.

Mr. Pouran, who is an advocate, said as per the NHRC norms any such encounter has to be probed by an investigation agency that was independent of the police involved in the encounter. The present encounter was being investigated by the local police. “You cannot expect a fair inquiry as they are all part of the one organisation. There has to be a judicial inquiry,” Mr. Pouran said.

Mr. Gopal said the ongoing combing operation by the ANF personnel should be stopped as the intention of combing looks like killing down suspected Maoists. Mr. Gopal said a case of murder should be registered against the ANF team led by Deputy Superintendent of Police A.H. Shankaran. The members of the ANF team involved in the encounter should be kept under suspension, he said.

Mr. Gopal said the findings of the fact-finding r have been submitted to the State Government. “We want the State Government to follow the norms as laid down by the NHRC,” he said. The CDRO was contemplating legal recourse to ensure police follows the NHRC norms, Mr. Pouran said.

Superintendent of Police Abhishek Goyal said the police was following all the norms laid down by the Supreme Court, NHRC and also the police circulars while investigating into the encounter. The local police was independent of the ANF, which was involved in the encounter with suspected Maoists on September 4.

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