The Maoist encounter in Nilambur forest has opened up volatile debates across Kerala’s political circles and among the public about the Left-led government’s approach to tackling extremism in the state. Political brutality or encounter deaths are a sensitive issue in Kerala and trigger volatility among different sections of the society.
People across Kerala are actively debating about the two Maoists who were killed by police. Congress leader VM Sudheeran had strongly pitched for a judicial probe into this Maoist encounter, along with several other leaders across different political parties in Kerala.
The most scathing criticism came from none other than CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran, who stated that no government has the right to gun down those who express their opinion and that LDF government was not elected by the people of Kerala to follow what Narendra Modi does.
CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran also said that police officials were being pressurized to exaggerate the Maoist threat to garner support for CM Pinarayi Vijayan’s request of availing funds from the Centre.
Senior BJP leader V Muraleedharan demanded a statement from Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. He also stated that usually the Left is the first to react when such brutalities happen but in this case, CM Pinarayi Vijayan is silent.
Besides the political mudslinging that is now taking place, why are Keralites angry about the Maoist encounter?
Here are the reasons being reported through local TV channels and print media:
1. No clarity from official sources about the details of the Maoist encounter in Nilambur forest. For instance, the police could not explain why the dead body of the female Maoist was found lying on its back.
2. Another point is that several TV reports say the Maoists were unarmed, raising the question as to why they were killed instead of being taken into custody.
3. According to the police version, the supposed encounter took place spanning two hours of continuous cross fire and yet not a single police officer has been injured.
4. The State government’s move to ”investigate” the encounter through the Perinthalmanna Sub Collector and the Crime Branch have led to no logical conclusion – raising doubts about the credibility of both in bringing facts to light.
5. Several questions which remain unaddressed by the Left-led government such as “When did Maoist threat become so deadly in Kerala?” and How did this threat suddenly crop up and is revealed only after the Maoist killing?”
The mother of the female Maoist who was killed, reportedly cried out saying, “These two had set out to do good things for people – why did you have to kill them like this?”
These points have strengthened the general public perception that the killing was arbitrary and without sufficient cause or legality. Meanwhile, court has directed officials not to cremate the dead bodies of the Maoists till December 5.