Alert as Maoist leader dies in police firing at Wayanad’s Lakkidi

Alert as Maoist leader dies in police firing at Wayanad's Lakkidi

Body of slain Maoist leader CP Jaleel being brought to Kozhikode Medical College for postmortem (Photo | Manu R Mavelil/EPS)

KALPETTA: CPI (Maoist) leader C P Jaleel was shot down by the police at Lakkidi in Wayanad following a lengthy gun battle which began on Wednesday night and lasted for many hours. Jaleel was a part of a four-member armed squad which had arrived at Upavan resort, located adjacent to the National Highway, demanding food and money. Kannur Range IG Balram Kumar Upadhyay said the gang, which arrived at 8.30 pm, demanded money and food for 10 persons.

The resort staff alerted the police following which the Thunderbolt commandos rushed to the spot. According to the officer, Maoists first opened fire leading to a gun battle. The officer said massive combing operation was under way for others who retreated into the forest. He confirmed no police officer was injured in the shootout.

READ | Wayanad Maoist encounter: High-level meeting evaluates situation

The firing that started around 9.30 pm continued until 4 am on Thursday. The officer said the anti- Maoist operations in forest areas along the tri-junction corridor were intensified under ‘Operation Anaconda’ during the past few months and would continue in the coming days. Sources said blood stains along the path leading to the forest suggest another Maoist has also suffered injuries.

Slain Maoist leader’s family demands judicial probe

The family of slain Maoist leader C P Jaleel has demanded a magisterial-level probe into his death. Jaleel’s brother C P Rasheed told reporters he feared Jaleel might have been killed in a ‘fake encounter’. “Many bullet injuries were found on his body. Maoists are usually seen wearing olive green uniform. But, Jaleel was seen wearing a blue shirt. A bag was also seen near his body. I doubt if he was caught alive, taken to the forest and shot dead by the police with the connivance of the resort staff,” said Rasheed. “The cops’ version regarding the gunfight is not believable.

READ | Crime Branch to probe Maoist encounter in Wayanad

They are saying the firing continued till Thursday morning. Maoists would not be possessing so much ammunition to fire all through the night,” Rasheed said. He said his family has lodged a complaint with the District Collector seeking judicial probe into the incident.

“Cases must be registered against the cops involved in the encounter,” he said. Sources said the postmortem examination will be conducted at 8.30 am on Friday at Kozhikode Government Medical College Hospital. The cops said a case has been registered under IPC, Arms Act, UAPA and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, in connection with the incident leading to the gunfight.

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