Varavara Rao says it was a fake encounter; CRPF terms it an ‘absolutely clean operation'

A day after Communist Party of India (Maoist) Polit Bureau member Koteshwara Rao alias Kishenji was gunned down by the joint security forces in the Burisole forest in Paschim Medinipur district, Maoist sympathisers and security forces on Friday traded allegations and came out with counter-claims on whether he was killed in a “fake encounter.”

 While revolutionary poet and Maoist ideologue Varavara Rao alleged here that Kishenji was killed in a fake encounter, Director-General of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) K. Vijay Kumar told journalists at Burisole that it was “an absolutely clean operation.”

“I know this is a fake encounter. The encounter was staged to hoodwink the people and to divert attention from the incident,” Mr. Rao said at a rally in the city.

Kishenji's niece Deepa, who is in West Bengal to claim his body, also alleged that he had been killed in a fake encounter.

Mr. Kumar, however, was unfazed by the allegations and said he was not surprised that they had been raised. “It is the habit of such people to accuse [the security forces of fake encounters].”

“It is a custom to accuse the police, but that is part of our job,” he added.

Mr. Rao's suspicion was that Kishenji had been taken into police custody on Wednesday itself, tortured and later killed in a fake encounter.

He claimed that the first media reports on Wednesday suggested that Kishenji and his comrades had been encircled by a thousand paramilitary forces, but they announced that he had managed to escape.

“If he had managed to escape to Jharkhand, how did the West Bengal government kill him? How did the joint security forces kill him in Paschim Medinipur district,” Mr. Rao asked.

He also alleged that signs of torture were visible on Kishenji's body and said that he suspected that Kishenji was “severely tortured” in police custody.

But Mr. Kumar said: “When we die in large numbers, it is always a very fair deal and when we are able to take them [the Maoists] on, this is what they say.”

“They [the security forces] have been very tactical and it was an absolutely clean operation. They have acted on time and not lost even one minute,” he maintained.

Meanwhile, Kishenji's mother has, it was learnt, sent a letter to the Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court informing him of her apprehensions that her son was killed in a fake encounter and has prayed for a judicial inquiry into the incident.

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