Thiruvananthapuram: While Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has defended the police action against the Maoists, the Opposition alleged that it was a cold-blooded murder as the Maoists were willing to surrender.
"Thunderbolt, the anti-Maoist commando wing, fired in self- defence after they came under attack from the Maoists," he told the Assembly on Wednesday.
Replying to an adjournment notice given by N. Shamsuddin (IUML), he said the Maoists first fired at the commandos and the Thunderbolt team retaliated. The deaths were unfortunate, he said and urged the Maoists to shun armed resistance and take advantage of an amnesty scheme offered by the government.
He claimed that the police seized modern weapons, including AK 47 and AK 56, from the Maoists. Agali police has registered two cases which will be investigated by the Crime Branch.
The Opposition alleged that it was a fake encounter. Mr Shamsuddin said the shootout was one-sided as no Thunderbolt team member suffered any injuries. Even CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran and Left fellow traveller K. Satchidanandan had criticised the police action, he said.
Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala demanded a judicial inquiry into the "cold-blooded killings" and said Mr Vijayan, a communist leader who idolised Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara as a martyr, was defendingthe arbitrary action.
"The Maoists were eager to surrender, but the police stage-managed the shootout to get central funding though there was no evidence of a gun fight. The count of dead bodies would also help a few IPS officers improve their career prospect," he said.
Manivasakam, who was killed in the encounter, was negotiating his surrender with the authorities as he had diabetic complications, said Mr Chennithala.