The Manjeri Sessions Court ruled on Tuesday that the bodies of Maoists killed in an encounter in Kerala’s Nilambur forest on Thursday, Kuppu Devaraj and Ajitha, should not be cremated till December 5.
The order came in response to a petition filed by Devaraj’s brother Shreedharan, alleging that the encounter was fake. The families of the slain Maoists and human rights activists had questioned the authenticity of police claims regarding the encounter on the grounds that no arms were found close to the two dead bodies, and that no one among the 60-member police team sustained injuries in the encounter.
While considering the petition on Monday, the court had directed the police not to cremate the bodies, but had not set a deadline for this moratorium beyond the hearing on Tuesday.
After the encounter on Thursday, a post-mortem was conducted on Saturday at the Kozhikode Medical College, which revealed that the bodies bore 19 bullet wounds. Devaraj’s and Ajitha’s relatives had then refused to claim their bodies, raising doubts regarding the police version of the encounter.
The police had reportedly maintained that the bodies will be cremated 72 hours after conducting post-mortem, forcing the families to approach the court.
Sreedharan will also reportedly appeal to the court to conduct a second post-mortem on both Devaraj's and Ajitha's body, with a team including doctors from outside the state.