Several human rights activists and scholars on Friday urged the Kerala government to conduct an investigation into the death of suspected Maoist CP Jaleel. He was shot dead by the police in an encounter in Wayanad on Thursday. In a statement, the activists demanded that a first information report be registered with the police in connection with the murder. Poet Meena Kandasamy, author Nikhila Henry and 35 other activists signed the statement.

Jaleel, 40, hailed from Malappuram district and was the brother of Maoist leader CP Ismail, who was arrested recently. Jaleel was killed at a resort in Vythiri where he and his associates had allegedly gone to extort money and collect food.

The suspicion that the “shocking incident” had been a fake encounter has gained strength from the beginning, the activists said. “The statements made by the resort manager, the location of the incident, before the television cameras and reports in the media have only helped to strengthen these doubts,” they said. “The Wayanad killing has created an apprehension that Kerala, too, is becoming a land of encounter killings, similar to Gujarat.”

The activists said a magisterial and Crime Branch probe ordered by the government would be unlikely to serve any purpose, as had been the case in the Nilambur fake encounter killings. “The fate of the magisterial probe report on the killing of Kuppu Devarajan and Ajitha at Nilambur still remains a mystery,” they said.

Kuppu Devaraj, a senior member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), and Ajitha, a woman leader of the group’s Karnataka wing, were killed in an encounter with the Kerala police in the forests of Nilambur in November 2016. The murders had created serious fissures within the Left Democratic Front coalition government in the state.

“In the above circumstance, we demand that a probe should be held after filing an FIR about the Wayanad encounter,” they said. “We also demand that the state government committed to upholding the Supreme Court judgment on Sabarimala should show the same zeal and commitment in upholding the Supreme Court judgment on encounter killings too.”

Brothers demand judicial probe

Meanwhile, Jaleel’s brothers on Thursday also demanded a judicial probe into his killing, The Hindu reported.

“We suspect that our brother was caught and cruelly killed by the police,” said CP Rasheed and CP Jishad. “Usually, Maoists don the olive green uniform when they interact with outsiders. But Jaleel was in casual dress at the time of the police encounter. In such a situation, we suspect that Jaleel had been arrested from somewhere else and the police shot him at the resort.”

Rasheed, who is a human rights activist, claimed that the police had not allowed the family or journalists to see Jaleel’s body till noon. He also claimed that the body showed seven injuries.