As the criticism over the killing of four people suspected to be Maoists in the forests of Agaly near Attappady in Palakkad has put the state government in a spot, the relatives of the deceased said they won't accept the bodies and have sought a re-postmortem.
Anti-insurgency force of the Kerala police, Thunderbolt killed four people during a search operation in the forests in Manjeekkadi, near Agaly in Palakkad on Monday morning. The people suspected to be Maoists have been identified as Manivasakam, Karthi, Aravind and Rema, all natives of Tamil Nadu.
Relatives of Manivasakam and Karthi told media that they are skeptical about the police move of sending the bodies for postmortem without the bodies being identified by them. According to reports, they also approached the district collector with a request to conduct re-postmortem of the bodies.
Meanwhile, Police Superintendent of Palakkad Sivavikram denied that the deceased had come to surrender asking why people who come to surrender would carry weapons including AK-47s with them.
"The Thunderbolt team while conducting patrolling in the areas saw a camp shed about three-four kilometers away from Manjeekkadi. There was firing from their side, which led to the exchange of firing. We got information that three people were neutralised in the operation which included a woman, and two men. Immediately, we gave instructions to bend down, there were around 40 people. The Thunderbolt team was moving in front, they took positions and approached the people and during the time of approach, there was exchange of firing," he said.
"We were witnessing all that. Then we got information that one more person was neutralised. From the neutralised people, we recovered loaded weapons, AK-47s. We saw two more people who were armed with deadly weapons like SLR. We have seized more weapons, found 100 rounds of bulletins, mobile phones and laptops. We are finishing the inquest. In the forest, we saw them armed with AK-47s. How can we say they came to surrender,â€ť he asked.
Meanwhile, the State Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu case in the killing. Judicial member of the Commission P Mohandas, has also sent notice to state police chief Loknath Behera asking him to submit a report within two weeks. The case will be considered on November 12 at a hearing in Kalpetta, Wayanad. The Commission has asked what the provocation was for shooting four people including a woman, immediately on seeing them. The Commission also said that the police have no right to kill four people suspecting them to be Maoists.
Criticism has been coming in from various quarters with many saying that the move didn't befit a Communist government. The Opposition raised the issue in the Assembly on Wednesday to which Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that though the deaths were unfortunate, the police did it for self-protection.
CPI state chief Kanam Rajendran told media on Wednesday that the killing of extremists was a fake encounter. He said that there should be a magisterial level inquiry into the incident. He also added that as per people in the area, the persons were shot from close range while they were having food. The CPI state council also stated that it is primitive to kill someone just because they are following a particular ideology.