Matters are getting more and more intriguing each day around the death of Maoist leader CP Jaleel, killed last Wednesday night by police gunshots in Upavan Resort beside Lakkidi national highway. Although DGP Behera has announced magisterial-level enquiry and Crime Branch probe in line with Supreme Court instructions, relatives of the killed have decided to go for a legal battle in quest of truth about the encounter. In the eyes of the family and a large section of the public, police action and explanations so far appear to be intended to cover up a one-sided attack.
The Karulai encounter and Lakkidi incident reinforce the suspicion that instead of bringing the Maoists belonging to the banned outfits before law, Kerala's Thurderbolt has also adopted a policy of shooting them to death, along the lines of north Indian police forces. In the cases of Kuppu Devaraj and Ajita, killed in a police encounter in 2016, magisterial and Crime Branch investigations were held, but the case was wound up with clean chit being given to police and Thunderbolt. In spite of strong criticisms from various quarters, the silence being observed by the chief minister, in charge of home ministry, is not the right course. It is during the rein of a government led by Communists, who ideologically still nurture armed revolution in their bosoms, that yet another encounter murder of Maoists has happened throwing all human rights to the winds. But the left-wing government has a binding, in terms of both principle and administration, to prove that Kerala police is not heirs of north India's police, notorious for fake enounter deaths.
Even according to the police version, the Maoists who came to the Lakkidi resort had come there asking for food and money. The CCTV pictures that have emerged since and the resort's employees testify that they spent their time there with decency when food was being prepared. Another evidence for their not having intentions of attack and holding hostage, is the fact that neither the resort employees nor policfe officials suffered any injuries as part of the encounter. The initially reported statement by the resort manager that a few gun-wielding policemen came there and then started firing, would throw lilght on the facts leading to the encounter murder and would put the police in the dock. Although that statement was later denied, the two lethal bullets had hit the back of the dead body. One of them came out through the chest, the other bullet had come out through the left side of the head, near the eye. The brother of the deceased CP Rasheed, who confirmed the identify of the dead body as that of CP Jaleel, raises the suspicion that the firing was at point-blank range.
That a man belonged to a banned organization and he had argued for armed revolution can never be a justification for a one-sided killing by police. The controversy that has so far come out in Lakkidi firing, makes an impartial and fool-proof enquiry essential. Every one of us has to ensure that Kerala is not a land where anybody can be shot to death at will. What is required for that is an unflagging vigilance of the people with high level of civic sense. Facts will emerge in cases with police staff as accused, only if those in authority and the citizenry alike show unflinching will power to scrupulously enforce justice. In a land like ours, it has to be declared loud and clear that peace in Kerala will not prevail by merely shooting down the handful of youth who get enamoured of a romantic passion for armed resistance so much as to be oblivious of the unfeasibility of armed revolution.
It is equally important, as much as questioning police hunting, to lead the minds of youth along the right path from that of the anti-human and outdated trajectories of armed revolution. And what can be more absurd than the thought that exploitation and inequalities of a democracy can be wiped off with arms and that state terrorism can be defeated by country rifles! The armed resistance of the six-decade old Indian Maoist movements has become not only the stuff of heroic stories of red dreams among sacricing men, but also cause for the tears and loss of lives of innocents. Even as they say that they stand for the marginalized and adivasis, they have thrown themselves to be victims of government's hunting. 'Bright tomorrows' can be created only by perseverent and patient democratic struggles. Only through that can people's minds be influenced and prepared for lasting revolution. Even organized Communist parties, who had toiled for long with hopes of armed revolutions, have been turned into exponents of democracy by Gandhiji's India. And if we cannot drill home this fact in the confused youths, we will continue to hear frequent sounds of gunshots and horror cries from our forest lands.