Coimbatore, Dec 16: Three of the five maoists lodged in the Central jail in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, observed a day-long fast on Friday to condemn the 'encounter' killing of two Maoist leaders near Nilambur in Kerala. The three inmates, Roopesh, Anoop and Veeramani refused to take breakfast and lunch to protest the killings, which they termed as a "planned encounter," jail sources said.
However, two others, Shyna, wife of Roopesh and Kannan, who were arrested 18 months ago from Karumathampatti on the outskirts, did not participate in the hunger strike, they said.
Two Maoists, Kuppuswamy Devaraj (65), a central committee member of the outlawed maoist outfit and Ajitha (45), were killed in an encounter with the police in Nilambur forests in Malappuram district, Kerala, on November 24 during a combing operation.
Police's Thunderbolts force had launched a combing operation in the wee hours of November 24 upon receiving intelligence inputs that a few top Maoist cadres were camping in an interior forest. According to officials, they were forced to open fire after the combing team came under Maoist attack.
The Nilambur forest region has been under surveillance after suspected Maoists fired at a police team a month back. The incident opened up volatile debates across Kerala's political circles and among the public about the Left-led government's approach to tackling extremism in the state.
According to reports, the armed Maoist gangs had regularly visited different colonies under Nilambur South and North forest divisions for the last two years and they had succeeded in influencing a section of local people despite the police organizing various programmes to campaign against Maoists.