Kerala

Killing of Maoists: Opposition slams Kerala govt., demands judicial enquiry

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The police had ‘stage-managed’ the shoot-out to attract the Centre’s national security funding, says Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala

The Opposition on Wednesday slammed the government for justifying the back-to-back “fake encounter” killings of four Maoists by Kerala police commandos in Agali forests in Palakkad this week.

Participating in a debate in the Kerala Assembly on the motion that the House be adjourned to discuss the issue, Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala demanded a judicial enquiry into the “cold-blooded killings”.

He said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, a communist leader who lionised Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara as a martyr and victim of state terrorism, had defended the arbitrary police action without any bother.

The Maoists wanted to surrender, but the police gave them no quarter, Mr. Chennithala alleged. The police had “stage-managed” the shoot-out to attract the Centre’s national security funding. The body count had helped a few IPS officers improve their career prospect at the cost of human lives.

He said Manivasakam, one of the Maoist causalities, was negotiating his surrender to get treated for diabetic complications.

The former Home Minister said there was no evidence of a gunfight. The police had shot the fleeing rebels in the back. They fired the shots to kill and not in self-defence, given the nature of the multiple bullet injuries on the bodies of the insurgents.

The CM had merely “parroted the whitewashed version of the police”. Even his coalition partner, the Communist Party of India, remained unconvinced. On Mr. Vijayan’s watch, the police had killed seven Maoists with impunity. The magisterial enquiries into the killings had come to nought. In contrast, the United Democratic Front (UDF) government had forced the surrender of several Maoist rebels, treated them with dignity as political prisoners and convicted them through due process of law, Mr. Chennithala said.

Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) legislator N. Shamshudeen, who initiated the motion, said Maoists should be brought before the law and not killed like flies.

Kerala had no Maoist rebellion as seen in remote and impoverished parts of North India. However, Palakkad looked as if it was under siege. Maoist activity in Kerala was limited to distributing pamphlets and soliciting minimal provisions from tribal settlements. Mr. Shamshudeen said the killings could impel idealistic youth to join Maoist ranks.

Mr. Vijayan said the Maoists had fired upon a police patrol in Manjakandi forests. The commandos returned fire in self-defence, resulting in the death of four Maoists.

He said the deaths were unfortunate and urged Maoists to shun the path of armed resistance. He asked them to take advantage of an amnesty scheme offered by the government and integrate themselves into the social mainstream.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 1:47:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/killing-of-maoists-opposition-slams-kerala-govt-demands-judicial-enquiry/article29830830.ece

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