A court here today directed the police not to cremate the bodies of the two Maoists killed in an alleged encounter in the Nilambur forests, but to preserve them till tomorrow evening. The Manjeri District Court gave the direction on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by various human rights groups and the brother of slain Maoist leader Kuppuswamy Devaraj, Public Prosecutor P Suresh said. The judge posted the matter to tomorrow and directed the police to preserve the bodies of Devaraj and Ajitha till 7 pm, he added. The petitioners claimed that the duo was killed in a "fake" encounter in the Karulayi forest of Padukka range in the district.
However, the police claimed that it was only after the Maoists opened fire that they retaliated and shot the two dead. Devaraj, a central committee member of the outlawed outfit, and Ajitha were killed in an alleged encounter in the Nilambur forests in the district on November 24. They were killed during search operations undertaken by a 60-member team of the Thunderbolt Force, an elite commando force of Kerala police, based on a tip-off that Maoists were camping in the area.
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