Kerala Maoist killing snowballing into a political row

The killing of four Maoists at the forest areas of Palakkad in Kerala is snowballing into a political row with even the CPI, a key coalition partner of the ruling CPM-led Left Front in the state, suspecting a fake encounter.

The Kerala State Human Rights Commission registered a case and sought a report from the police, while a judicial probe would be ordered by the government soon. The Opposition Congress also alleged in the state Assembly on Wednesday that it was a fake encounter.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan rejected the allegations. The Maoists initially fired at the anti-Naxal squad commandos and the Maoists were killed in the retaliatory firing, he told the Assembly.

Palakkad district police chief Shiv Vikaram also denied the reports that the Maoists were willing to surrender.

The CPI state leadership conveyed its resentment over the killing of Maoists, suspecting that it could be a fake encounter. The state secretary Kanam Rajendran said that the party's state council passed a resolution condemning the incident.

'Not a Karnataka native'

The police on Wednesday clarified that though initially one of the deceased, Karthik, was suspected to be hailing from Karnataka, it was later revealed that he was from Tamilnadu. The others deceased were Manivasakam, the commander of the Western Ghats wing, and Rema from Tamilnadu. Another deceased was suspected to be named Aravind, whose identity was yet to be ascertained. All were attached to Bhavani Dalam, a senior police officer told DH.

The autopsies of the bodies were conducted on Wednesday. Several bullet injuries were reportedly found on the bodies. People claiming to be relatives of Manivasakam and Karthik already had claimed the bodies. It would be handed over after verification, said the police.

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