While the Kerala government says police fired in self-defence leading to his death, Velmurugan's family has alleged that it was a fake encounter.

Maoist Velmurugan who killed in police firing
news Court Monday, November 09, 2020 - 20:28

The family of slain Maoist Velmurugan, who was recently shot dead by Kerala police, has moved a sessions court in Kerala, alleging that he was killed in a fake encounter. In the plea filed before the District and Sessions Court at Kalpetta in Wayanad, Velmurugan's brother, advocate Murugan, has asked the court for directions that the post-mortem report and the First Information Report (FIR) filed by the police be furnished to the family.

Velmurugan, a 33-year-old Tamil Nadu native, was shot dead by a team of Thunderbolt officials - Kerala's top anti-insurgency force - during combing operations in Banasurasagar forest area at Padinjarathara police station limits in Wayanad on November 3. While the police and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan have maintained that police fired in self-defence and that the firing was started by Maoist group, Velmurugan's family has alleged that it was a fake encounter.

Human rights activists in Kerala have filed the petition in court for Velmurugan's family. "In the plea, the family has also demanded that the police officials responsible for Velmurugan's death be booked under charges of murder, as per the Supreme Court verdict of 2014," a human rights activist who filed the plea for the family told TNM. The Supreme Court in 2014 had ruled that alleged encounter killings must be investigated independently.

Velmurugan's family, hailing from Periyakulam of Theni district in Tamil Nadu, had recently moved the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court. His brother, who had come to Kerala following his death, had said that he was only shown Velmurugan's face and not the extent of injuries.

Seven suspected Maoist have been killed in Kerala till date in police firing after the CPI(M)-led LDF government came into power. In 2016, Kuppuswamy Devaraj and Ajitha were killed in Nilambur forests; in March 2019, Maoist leader CP Jaleel was killed at a resort in Vythiri' and last October, four other Tamil Nadu natives - Manivasakam, Karthi, Aravind and Rema - were killed during combat in Palakkad district.

Read: Why Kerala govt’s 'encounter' killings of suspected Maoists should be called out