At least one Maoist was killed and two others injured in a police encounter in Kerala‚Äôs Malappuram district on Thursday.
Thunderbolt, the special wing of the Kerala police which is trained for such operations, carried out an encounter at the Padukka forest range in Nilambur.
Though regional media reports claim that three Maoists, including a woman, were killed in the encounter, Divisional Forest Officer (South) Saji stated that only one Maoist was killed and that two others were injured. The office of the Malappuram SP, too, confirmed the death of one Maoist.
Though the officials said that only one person was killed and did not confirm his/her identity, some media reports say that the Maoists killed in the encounter are Kukku Devaraj - a native of Andhra Pradesh - and a woman member Ajitha.
A team of 60 members of the Thunderbolt team began search operations at 4 am on Thursday and are said to have killed the Maoist by 12 pm.
The search operations are still under way.
‚ÄúThis area is located in the interiors of the Eengar-Kadakkattu forest area, which is under regular surveillance. A few adivasis tipped off the police about suspicious activities at the forest. We (forest officials) used to regularly patrol the area," Saji added.
India Today quoted DGP Loknath Behera as saying, "When they refused to surrender, police fired and three persons were killed in the encounter."