A suspected Maoist in his early 30s was killed in Kerala's Wayanad on Tuesday in an encounter between five uniformed men and a 20-member "Thunderbolt" patrol, according to Kerala Police. Sources said, according to the preliminary probe, the man has been identified as Velmurugan from Tamil Nadu; however, further procedures, including DNA testing and evidence collection will continue.
The encounter, according to the police, broke out after the uniformed men fired at the patrol of the Kerala Police commandos, who returned fire in self-defence.
On combing the area, the patrol found a body with .303 rifle, while the others escaped. The encounter happened around 9.15 am on Tuesday in the forests near Wayanad's Meenmutty.
"The area has been cordoned off for evidence collection. Tomorrow, ballistic experts may come for further evidence collection and only after that others can be allowed there. We have enough evidence and will be submitted for investigation. Another important thing is that 5-6 people in the group managed to escape today and that's a very dangerous situation, that's another reason why the media was not allowed to go to the location today," Wayanad police chief G Poonguzhali told reporters.
According to a police officer, Velmurugan was an expert in handling arms, propagating Maoist ideology and was an active member of the CPI (Maoist). He was on the run since 2012 and has cases registered against him in Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Cases against him, according to police sources, include propagating Maoist ideology, and criminal conspiracy against the government with illegal weapons, among others.