Kerala

Kerala government fights criticism for Maoist killings

Meenamma, mother of Karthi, waiting on the Thrissur Medical College campus, where the post-mortem of the four Maoists was conducted.

Meenamma, mother of Karthi, waiting on the Thrissur Medical College campus, where the post-mortem of the four Maoists was conducted.  

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CPI, Congress say they were killed in cold blood; writers, human rights activists condemn it

The Left Democratic Front (LDF) government on Wednesday scrambled to weather withering criticism from across the political spectrum for the killing of four Maoists by police commandos at Attapady forests in Palakkad.

 

The administration found itself in a particularly awkward spot after CPI State secretary Kanam Rajendran emphatically rejected Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's contention in the Assembly that the commandos had opened fire on the Maoists in self-defence.

Mr. Rajendran said the killings had all the markings of a staged encounter. No police officers were injured in the ‘gun battle.’ Maoist Manivasakam, a causality, suffered from debilitating diabetic complications and had aspired to surrender. The police seemed to have shot to kill. The victims had suffered multiple gunshot injuries on their chest and head. Mr. Rajendran caustically reminded the government that killing Maoists for their political views did not figure in the LDF's political manifesto. The LDF government should not ape the Centre's policy of annihilating Maoist rebels.

‘Extrajudicial killings’

Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said the Chief Minister who idolised Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara and considered him a martyr and victim of State terrorism appeared unbothered by the "extrajudicial killings".

 

Since Mr. Vijayan assumed power in 2016, the police had killed seven Maoists in encounters. Many were shot from behind and in questionable circumstances. The magisterial inquiries into the killings have all come to nought. The body count of Maoists, many of them misguided but idealistic youth, had helped career police officers improve their job profile and attract the Centre's national security funding.

The government faced widespread scorn on social media for the killings. Noted poet K. Satchidanandan cynically observed the "left had turned on the left." Several writers, thinkers, human rights activists and artists condemned the shootings.

Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) legislator N. Shamshudeen, who sought to adjourn the Assembly to discuss the issue, said Kerala had no Maoist rebellion as seen in remote and impoverished parts of north India. The previous Oommen Chandy government had arrested Maoists and not killed them. The Tamil Nadu and Karnataka administrations had a better human rights record than the Pinarayi government.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 7:58:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/govt-fights-criticism-for-maoist-killings/article29834638.ece

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