VISAKHAPATNAM: With the Odisha police making it clear that there were no clues or evidence to establish links between Maoists and the two tribals, who died in an encounter near Koyyuru in the agency area recently, the Andhra Pradesh police closed the case temporarily with ‘benefit of doubt.’

However, the people’s organisation  expressed their anger against the AP police and demanded a judicial probe into the incident.

The slain tribals have been identified as Ganga Malkani and Ganga Pudian of Balghati village in Korukonda block of Malkangiri district in Odisha.

The two suspected Maoists were killed by Greyhounds and special party police near  Valakapudi village in Puttakonda dense forest of Koyyuru mandal in the  Vizag agency on February 22.

After the encounter, the Andhra police   announced that two Maoists died in the encounter. The bodies were shifted to  Narsipatnam government hospital for post-mortem.

Controversy surrounded the encounter theory as the Maoists did not claim the bodies of the two decesed. The police kept the bodies and requested the Malkangiri SP to identify the bodies.

Responding to the request, the Odisha police conducted a detailed inquiry to unearth the details of the two persons. During the inquiry, it found that the two dead persons were tribals who belonged to Odisha. The Odisha police made it clear to their AP counterparts that there were no clues or evidence that the two slain persons were Maoists.

Sources said that the Malkangiri SP had written a letter to his Visakhapatnam counterpart that the two deceased were known tribals who usually used to go for hunting and there was no previous crime history against both the tribals.

“True, we have received a letter from the Malkangiri SP which mentioned that the two tribals had been identified in Odisha. There is no crime record and Maoist links to the deceased,” a senior AP circle inspector confirmed.

Meanwhile, the same information was revealed by the deceased family members.  While receiving the bodies, the family members said that they did not have any contact with the Maoists and the duo usually used to go for hunting and spend three days at a stretch in the forest.

“Though the Odisha police did not confirm  the slain persons’ links with the Maoists, according to the information available from the tribals, the duo could disappear from the village for some days. It seems that the two were Maoist militia members. The militia members suddenly vanish from the villages for about a week and surface again. The armed forces during their combing operations face similar situations when they face Maoists. It is just a life and death game with the Red rebels. Sometimes, it will be benefit of doubt, the circle inspector said.