Kerala HC directs police to conduct probe into killing of two suspected Maoists

suspected Maoists, killing, encounter with police, Kerala High Court, probe, evidence, Kerala High Court, Sessions court, Karthi, Rema, Aravind, Manivasagan, cremation, provisions in FIRs
The Kerala High Court gave instructions to ascertain whether the officers who took part in the alleged encounter with the suspected Maoists had committed any offence themselves. File photo: PTI.

The Kerala High Court on Tuesday (November 12) directed the police to conduct a probe into the circumstances leading to the killing of two suspected Maoists in an alleged encounter in Agali forest of Palakkad district last month.

It also gave instructions to ascertain whether the officers who took part in the alleged encounter had committed any offence.

Justice R Narayana Pisharadi, however, made it clear that the court has not even remotely expressed any views with regard to the circumstances under which or the manner in which the death of the two occurred. He also allowed the state authorities to cremate the two as per prevailing rules and norms.

The order was passed while disposing a plea by the relatives of the duo. The plea had challenged a sessions court order permitting cremation as per rules and had sought investigation into their deaths.

Also read: The ‘left has turned against the left’ in Kerala encounter killings

Whatever be the penal provisions mentioned in the FIRs, the circumstances under which the killings of Karthik alias Kannan and Manivasakam had occurred and the cause of their deaths shall be investigated, the judge said. He also ordered the investigating officer to seize the firearms used by police officers during the encounter and take steps for sending them for forensic and ballistic analysis.

Finger prints of the deceased, if not already taken and preserved properly, shall be taken immediately by appropriate methods, before cremation of the bodies, the Court said. It also said that a report of compliance shall be sent to the Sessions Court in Palakkad, without any delay.

The high court further said if the petitioners were not satisfied or aggrieved at a later stage regarding the investigation, they were at liberty to approach the lower court for appropriate relief at that stage.

Noting that there was no necessity to further preserve the bodies of the slain maoists, the Court said it has already found that postmortem reports contain necessary details with regard to the injuries sustained by them.

Also read: Five Maoists killed in encounter by security forces in Odisha

It then vacated the interim order passed on November 5, restraining the state from cremating the bodies of Karthik and Manivasakam. The Court, on November 5, had directed the state government to preserve the bodies of the two until further orders after their kin filed a plea against a lower court order permitting their cremation.

The Sessions Court in Palakkad had disposed of the matter on November 4 after finding that there was no lapse on the part of the police and none of the specific guidelines of the apex Court were ignored or flouted.

Four Maoists — Karthi, Rema, Aravind and Manivasagan — were killed allegedly in an exchange of fire started by ultras during a police combing operation in Palakkad district on October 28 and 29.