“To kill people in the name of Maoists and hunt them down is not there in the Common Minimum Programme of the LDF," CPI state chief Kanam Rajendran said.

Picture of CPI Kerala state secretary Kanam Rajendran in a pink background Kanam Rajendran/Screengrab
news Criticism Friday, November 06, 2020 - 19:28

The Communist Party of India (CPI) in Kerala, a prominent ally in the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government, has come down heavily on the state government for killing a suspected Maoist on Tuesday in Wayanad. CPI State Secretary Kanam Rajendran even suggested that it was the need of the police to maintain that there is a Maoist threat in the state, to get funds from the Union government for killing them. CPI is the second largest party in the LDF after the ruling CPI(M).

“To kill people in the name of Maoists and hunt them down is not there in the Common Minimum Programme of the LDF. Maoists haven't grown as a threat in Kerala to keep people on tenterhooks. It's the need of only the police to maintain this as a threat for getting Union government funds and other benefits. It’s not fair to kill people occasionally for this. The government should re-examine its stand on it, and that is the opinion of the CPI," Kanam said in a press conference on Friday.

Thunderbolt, an elite force under the Kerala police, had killed Velmurugan, a native of Theni in Tamil Nadu near Kattikulam in Wayanad. This is the eighth encounter killing under the LDF regime and while the police said that they had fired in self-defence, many have questioned the claim.

“There is neither Maoist presence nor activities in Kerala to have Thunderbolt combing the forest for them. Thunderbolt should step back from hunting Maoists. CPI doesn’t endorse the ‘eliminating theory’ of the Maoists. It's not a fair policy for a state to decide to shoot down those who have extreme politics. Those who saw the bullets in the dead body and the injuries, give the hint that the firing took place from proximity. Not a single police person was injured,” Kanam said.

“None of them sought treatment in the nearby hospital. It’s understood that the encounter is a one-sided firing. We believe that the government would go for a magisterial probe as directed by the Supreme Court. But the report won’t reach the court if it's against the police,” he added.

The CPI in a resolution approved in its Council, the party’s apex state body, on Thursday said that a civilised society can’t accept the killing of a person in the name of an encounter. “The party doesn’t agree with the style of functioning of the Maoists. But the party doesn’t accept killing them either. The Naxalite Movement that was born in the state in the 1970s didn’t get rooted, not because of firings or killings, but as it lacked the backing of general society in the state,” the resolution had said.

Kanam's statement comes a day after Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had backed the police’s claim that the killing was in self-defence. Pinarayi said that the government never had intention to kill anyone and the police force fired in self-defence only.

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