3 suspected Maoists killed in encounter in Kerala
At least three suspected Maoists were killed in a gun battle with Thunderbolt commandos of Kerala police in Agali forest in Palakkad on Monday, officials said.
The dead include two men and a woman and their identities are not known yet, according to the officials.
Police said the encounter took place after the patrol party of the commandos came under heavy firing by a group of Maoists. The commandos retaliated immediately and later three bodies were found near the encounter site.
Police said they suffered no casualties and did not rule out more deaths. Senior police officials, forensic and ballistic experts have rushed to the site.
Officials said they had information that ‘Kabani Dalam’ workers of the Maoist group were planning to re-group to extend their work among the tribals in Wayanad and Palakkad districts.
There were unconfirmed reports that some senior leaders of other ‘Dalams’, especially from Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, were also present at the meeting.
Police said they will make an official statement only after the magisterial inquest of bodies.
But Congress MP from Palakkad VK Sreekandan expressed doubts over the encounter theory of the state police.
“I visited some of these areas last week and nobody complained about the presence of Naxalites. It is hard to believe an encounter had taken place. We need a thorough inquiry into this,” he said.
CPI(M) leader MV Govindan also distanced the government from the encounter, saying it was not the policy of the Left front government to kill Maoists.
“Let the details emerge. The party will comment after this,” he said.
After the LDF government came to power two encounters have taken place in the state. In 2016, two leaders Kuppu Devaraj and Ajita alias Kaveri were killed in Nilambur and another leader CP Jaleel was shot dead this year.
In Kerala, Maoists are confined to small forest tracts in Wayanad and Palakkad and they never posed serious law and order problem in the state.
Kerala police had created a special force called ‘Thunderbolts’ on the lines of the National Security Guards to check insurgents and terror outfits.