Thiruvananthapuram: On the heels of the killing of three alleged Maoists, Kerala Police on Tuesday gunned down a fourth extremist, according to official sources, even as the Congress party and the CPI criticised the killings, with a former judge also demanding a judicial probe into the incidents.
A Thunderbolt team of the Kerala Police on Monday eliminated three alleged Maoists, including a woman, after an exchange of fire in Kerala's Palakkad forest area.
According to informed sources, the person killed on Tuesday was a top Maoist from Tamil Nadu, Mani Vasakam, while among those who died on Monday, two hailed from Karnataka - Sreemathi and Suresh - and Karthi was from Tamil Nadu.
State Police chief Loknath Behra was, however, tightlipped about the matter and told mediapersons here on Tuesday that the Crime Branch probe begins as soon as such incidents occur as per Supreme Court directives.
"A magisterial probe will be announced by the government today (Tuesday) and hence I am unable to divulge details," Behra said.
The Thunderbolt team had gone for combing operations inside the forests after reports about presence of Maoists in the area.
Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said in the Kerala Assembly that six Maoists had been gunned down till date since the time Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had assumed office in 2016.
He told the media later that there was not a single "fake" encounter when he was the state Home Minister and that his government had strictly adhered to the principle of taking Maoists into custody.
Former Kerala High Court judge Kemal Pasha told the media there is nothing in the law that states Maoists should be gunned down.
"The need of the hour now is that a judicial probe should be announced into what happened," Pasha said.
Communist Party of India (CPI) state Secretary Kanam Rajendran said their position on tackling Maoists continues to be the same .
Both when in power or otherwise, the CPI in Kerala has always strongly condemned the police shooting down of Maoists.