Kerala's ruling partner CPI slams police killing of Maoists

Kanam Rajendran
CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran

Thiruvananthapuram: The CPI, the second largest ally of the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Kerala, has strongly condemned the killing of a Maoist in the Wayanad forests of the state recently.

CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran said the intermittent killings of the Left extremists by the police in the state was not a good trend. Rajendran was reacting to the murder of Velmurugan, a Maoist, in Wayanad in an alleged encounter. He was briefing the media about the decisions taken in the party's state council meet.

Rajendran said the Maoist insurgency, which began in the 1970s, is no more a threat to Kerala. He said the police were killing Maoists to get the central government's funds meant to eradicate the extremist movements.

He also criticised that the magisterial reports on such killings are not publicised if they are against the police.

He said the police action against Maoists was a blot on the face of the Kerala government, the only Left dispensation in the country.

Velmurugan is the eighth Maoist gunned down in Kerala after the CPM-led LDF government came to power in 2016. The CPI had openly taken a stance against such killings in the past also.

The state council of the party has demanded an immediate magisterial inquiry into the killing of Velmurugan. It said that the report must be filed in a time-bound manner and actions should be taken based on it.

A civilised society cannot approve of the killings of Maoists. Organising encounters in the forests by involving Thunderbolt, a special force of the police, is highly objectionable, the party forum said.

The opposition Congress-led UDF has also slammed the government over the encounter killings of the Maoists.

Leader of the Opposition in Kerala Assembly, Ramesh Chennithala, said a judicial inquiry should be held into the killing of a Maoist activist in Wayanad in police firing. 

The approach of the UDF government was to make the Maoists stand in front of law. The policy of this government, however, is to shoot them at sight, he said.

Don’t believe Maoists should be killed: Pinarayi

Velmurugan was killed when the Thunderbolt police team acted in self-defence and launched a counter-attack at Padinjarathara in Wayanad, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.

The Maoists were the first to fire at the police team, which was conducting a search in the jungle based on intelligence reports. As per the report, there were more than five armed men. Since the police team had taken sufficient precautions, there was no injury or risk to the lives of its members, he said. 

The government does not believe that Maoists are meant to be killed. Preliminary information is that the police firing was not intended to kill them. The other aspects can be looked into, Vijayan said.

Velmurugan's body cremated

Kalpetta: The body of Velmurugan, the Maoist leader from Tamil Nadu who was killed in a police firing in the Banasura forest area in Wayanad, was taken to his native place and cremated.

The body was taken to his house at Periyakulam in Theni around 5 am on Thursday. The cremation was done at the Anna Nagar public cemetery.

The final rites were conducted amid pro-Maoist sloganeering. The slogans, chanted in Tamil and Malayalam, said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan would be ousted from power through a people's war.

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