29 November 2016
Ø Demand re-postmortem of the dead bodies of the deceased.
Ø Demand judicial inquiry by a Supreme Court Sitting or Retired Judge
Ø Release Com. Soman and Adivasis, if any in illegal police custody
Ø Release MN Ravuni (78), the veteran Revolutionary Mass leader
Ø Appeal to the people and democratic organization and individuals to raise their voice in solidarity
Com. Kuppu Devraj (60) also known as Yogesh, Central Committee Member and Incharge of CPI (Maoist) Western Ghats Special Guerilla Zone, comprising the forest regions of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamilnadu and Com. Ajitha (45) a State Committee Member of this region are killed in a fake encounter in the early morning hours of 23rd November, 2016 Thursday in Nilambur Forest of Mallapuram district, Kerala.
Earlier to that the Kerala police involved in ‘Thunderbolt Operation’ meant to physically eradicate the Adivasis and Maoists in the Western Ghats for the vested interests of Multi-national and domestic companies in the country, cordoned the forest area for eighteen hours and did not allow any movement of the local people including the media persons into the forest. The incharge police officer for the Thunderbolt Operation falsely said that the police did not allow the media persons only to caution them that there would be land mines planted by the Maoists surrounding their camp.
The fact is that these two leaders of CPI (Maoist) who were suffering from serious health problems and were unarmed. According to the local people they were taking shelter in the Adivasi region and were caught and killed in cold blood. Later, the dead bodies were brought and thrown out in the spot where an incident of fake encounter was enacted. The people in surrounding areas told the media persons that they had not heard any exchange fire of gunshots in the preceding night. Even the police did not claim any injury being caused to any police personnel engaged in the so-called encounter. Where as in government medical college hospital, Kozikode 19 bullets were found in Devaraj’s body and seven in Ajitha’s body.
There are unconfirmed contradictory reports that Com. Soman, local CPI Maoist leader from Vynadu is injured and has been in police custody. But the police have been denying and stating that 11 CPI Maoist Guerillas have escaped and combing operations have been continuing in the region in full swing.
The dead bodies of Kuppu Devraj and Ajitha were shifted to Government Medical College hospital, Kozikode (Calicut) and the police claim that the postmortem has been conducted and bodies have been preserved in the mortuary till Monday, 28th November 2016. This means that means NHRC guidelines have not been complied with and the recent Supreme Court Judgment regarding the encounter killings also not followed. The photos of the dead bodies were not published in two National newspapers as per the legal requirement, except that of Devraj along with a press release from the police. The families were not informed. The dead bodies were not shown to the mother, brother and sister of Devraj and uncle of Ajitha who reached Kozikode on 25th November. Instead, the police lathi-charged and arrested twenty members of the human rights organization (Janakeeya Manushyavakasha Prasthanam) and Porattam, and threatened the relatives of deceased to leave the place. As the number of the protesters was kept on increasing, the police were forced to release the JMP activists but shifted Com. M.N. Ravunuri, Veteran revolutionary mass leader of Porattam and Vice President, Committee for Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP) to another police station.
Com. M.N. Ravunuri is 78 and one of the senior members of undivided Communist party of India in Madras Province in 1950s and a public advocate of the path of Naxalbari.
Ammini, aged mother of Kuppu Devarajan, Babu, his brother and sisters who have been waiting for the last four days in premises of the GMC Hospital, Kozikode have been demanding for re-postmortem of the bodies and the advocates of CRPP and JMP are supporting their demand and have filled a petition in sessions court of Kozikode which will be heard on 29th of November, Tuesday. The court ordered the preservation of dead bodies in mortuary of GMC Hospital, Kozikode till the petition is disposed.
The Kerala State Human Rights Commission asked the Chief of the state police to conduct probe into the matter and submit a report within two weeks. A member of the State Human Rights Commission, K. Mohan Kumar said that the mystery surrounding the incident should be unraveled. The order came on the basis of a complaint by an activist, P.K. Raju who stated that the police have not been able to furnish a credible explanation on the killings even two days after the encounter.
The Chief of State Police ordered a probe to be conducted by the Crime Branch of State. Such an enquiry cannot clear the doubts of fake encounter since it involves the ‘Operation Thunderbolt’ and anti-Maoist programme of three states, i.e. Kerala, Karnataka and Tamilnadu and the Central government, to serve the vested interest of mining and private industries of MNC’s and big bourgeoisie. We demand a judicial enquiry by the sitting or retired judge of Supreme Court into this fake encounter.
The Chief Minister’s office issued a note that the Chief Minister Pinaraya Vijayan has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the encounter and asked the sub collector to conduct the inquiry. The Chief Minister has also referred the case to be registered in connection with the ‘encounter killing’ to the Crime Branch for further probe.
Mani, the minister for electricity in Kerala state govt. was suggesting that since Maoists are not Communists as they indulge in mindless violence and extortion, they deserve encounter killings and tried to escape from the responsibility saying that a magisterial inquiry is already ordered and therefore he would not comment on the ‘Encounter’.
The situation in Kerala is sharply in contrast with the contemporary scenario in Chhattisgarh where the State Secretary of CPI (M) is implicated in a murder case along with Professors Nandini Sunder and Archana Prasad from Delhi. The allegation Chhattisgarh is that the Maoists had killed an Adivasi who was of a stooge and informer of the police. Here the CPI (M) Govt. is continuing the Operation Thunderbolt, part of Operation Green Hunt of the erstwhile Congress Government at the Centre, while the code name changed to Mission 2016 for the present Modi’s Hinduthva government. Code names proliferate, but all are the same Operation Green Hunt. In dealing with Adivasis, Dalits and Muslims the policies of political parties in governments are one and same is proved once again in Nilambur encounter.
Now the shoot at sight orders in Western Ghats continue to extend everlastingly. In Western Ghats it is the second major encounter after Com. Saketh Rajan in 2005 and it might be considered the second major encounter in Kerala after Com. Vergheese being killed in ‘encounter’ in 1969.
Vijaya Kumar, former CRPF Chief and the security advisor on the Maoist movement to Govt. of India, claimed in Chennai that it was a great achievement to the state and a big bolt to CPI Maoist. It seems his direction and the role of the Q branch of TN state police cannot be ruled out in this Thunderbolt Operation. This will be the second direct involvement of Vijay Kumar after the assassination of Kishanji in Jangalmahal, West Bengal.
This is perhaps the first major fake encounter in Kerala under CPI (M) government. That’s why even the left front partner CPI is condemning it as a fake encounter and demanding judicial enquiry. The CPI State secretary Kanam Rajendran and state leaders in Kerala are critical of police action and had made it clear that the CPI did not approve of Kerala being turned into a land where Maoists are being hunted down.
The leader of opposition, Ramesh Chennithala of Congress Party came out against magisterial and Crime Branch enquiries terming them grossly inadequate to bring out the truth. “The Crime Branch inquiry would be particularly futile as the killing had been carried out by another wing of State Police. Only a fair inquiry would convince the people about the veracity or the claims of the police. Therefore, there must be an inquiry by a sitting or retired judge of the High Court” Mr. Chennathala noted. Though this statement reflects the changing of colours and positions of parliamentary parties while in and out of power, it should go on record for as posterity of history demands.
Com. Kuppu Devraj is born in Krishnagiri of Tamilnadu but his revolutionary political activity is all through in Karnataka, till he took the responsibility of Western Ghats Special Guerilla Zone. Devaraj is an engineering graduate with an intellectual of high caliber and is well versed in Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, Telugu and English languages.
He was a performing cultural activist and served as an executive member of All India League for Revolutionary Culture (AILRC) in the later years of 1980s. After one term in AILRC, he had gone underground and became the Secretary of CPI (ML) PW, Karnataka and rose to the Central Committee, CPI-Maoist after the merger its with MCCI in 2004. He is senior to martyr Com. Saketh Rajan and junior to Cherukuri Raja Kumar in Karnataka state committee of CPI-Maoist party during last four decades.
Com. Ajitha daughter of late Parandhaman, who was retired officer with Indian Railways, joined the revolutionary mass movement in 1980s and organized the women liberation movement. She also fought for democratic rights as an advocate in Chennai. Later, she went underground and has become part of the revolutionary struggle in Western Ghats.
In spite of her failing eyesight and deteriorating health Ajitha withstood the ordeal of an underground life in the midst of Adivasis and Dalits. Kuppu Devaraj and Ajitha were born into Dalit families and imbibed revolutionary class consciousness and served the exploited toiling masses of this country.
RDF joins with the people paying homage to these two comrades Kuppa Devaraj and Ajitha and demands for re-postmortem of dead bodies and judicial inquiry into the encounter, and for punishing the officials involved in this operation. RDF appeals to the democrats and all the people’s organisation to stand in solidarity.
Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF)
29th November, 2016