The ‘encounter killing’ of Maoists in Kerala, the recent being the gunning down of a suspected activist by the police in Wayanad, has created widespread discontentment among the allies of the LDF government, including the Communist Party of India (CPI).
“We are waiting for the details, but I would tell you that CPI is categorically against encounter killings,” Kanam Rajendran, the state secretary of CPI, told The Federal.
The police on Tuesday (November 3) killed a suspected Maoist in Kalpetta in Wayanad during an ‘exchange of gunfire’. The slain person was identified as Velmurugan from Theni in Tamil Nadu. The Tamil Nadu Q branch has reportedly confirmed the death, though the Kerala police has not yet disclosed further details.
Velmurugan, 33, son of Sendu at Pudukkottai in Periyakulam, Theni district, was a student of law while he was arrested in 2007 for allegedly having connection with CPI (Maoist). He was arrested in connection with arms training and procurement of arms and ammunitions. A huge cache of arms and ammunitions was seized from Murugan Malai, according to past police reports. According to sources close to him, Velmurugan was in jail till 2011 in connection with these offences. He was released in 2011 and again joined the Madurai Law College.
Velmurugan’s brother Murugan is a practising lawyer in Madurai who also was arrested in 2017 for allegedly having connection with the banned organisation. He was alleged to have links with the Maoists who were arrested for procuring arms and conducting arms training. Murugan used to provide legal support to Maoists.
This is the fourth ‘encounter killing’ of Maoists since the Left government came to power in 2016. Eight suspected Maoists have been killed so far in Kerala over the last four years.
In a similar encounter in October 2019, four suspected Maoists, including a woman, were shot dead in Mancheekkandi forest of Attappadi in Palakkad district. CPI submitted a report to the chief minister alleging it was a ‘fake encounter’ and expressed the party’s concern over encounters being repeated in Kerala.
In March 2019, CP Jaleel, another suspected Maoist, was gunned down by the Thunder Bolt, an elite commando force of the Kerala police, in a private resort in Wayanad.
Kuppusamy Devaraj, said to be a central committee member of the banned organization, was shot dead in an encounter in 2016 at Nilambur forest in Malappuram. Ajitha alias Kaveri, another suspected Maoist, also was killed in the same encounter.