Maoist member CP Jaleel was killed in a shootout with the Kerala police’s Thunderbolt unit at the Vythiri area in the Wayanad district of the state on Wednesday night. Senior police officer and Kannur Range IG Balram Kumar Upadhyaya told TNM that the encounter which began around 8:30 pm went on till late into the night.
Balram said that there were about 10 armed Maoists, who were engaged in the encounter with the police officials on Wednesday night. It all began after the Maoists arrived at a local resort in Vythiri around 7:30 pm to demand cash and other provisions, said the police officer. However, they began arguing when the resort refused to hand over money,
An employee at the resort informed the police about this following which the Thunderbolts were called in. On the arrival of the police force, the armed men began to retreat into the forests with the police following suit. Police say Maoists began to shoot at them as they retreated. “It was this provocation by the Maoists that pushed the Thunderbolts to fire back. The police firing was more of a form of defence,” said Balram Kumar, who is handling the case.
It was during this firing that Jaleel was killed. Balram has also confirmed that there are no casualties on the side of the police forces. The other Maoists, however, escaped.
According to reports, 40-year-old Jaleel is a native of Malappuram district and was also the brother of Maoist leader CP Ismail, who was arrested recently.
Meanwhile, an official from the Vythiri police station told TNM that preliminary investigations show that the Maoists belong to the forests of Wayanad and that they are not from other places.
Following the encounter, the resort has been cordoned off and heavy police security has been deployed in the forests of Wayanad.
According to police officials, there have been reports about Maoist sightings in Wayanad before as well but they also say that there haven’t been many encounters in recent times.
Jaleel’s body will be taken to the Kozhikode Medical Hospital for post mortem. Balram said that the police are investigating the incident and that more details will only be available after another round of investigations.
Kerala Thunderbolts is an elite commando force of the Kerala police which was set up following the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. It has been created to counter possible terror attacks and engage in counterinsurgency operations in the state.