Thiruvananthapuram: The Communist Party India (CPI), the second largest partner in the ruling Left front, which has criticised the gunning down of four suspected Maoists in Attapady forest in Palakkad, has hit out at Chief Secretary Tom Jose for his article justifying the police action against the ultras.
CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran wanted to know if the Jose had sought permission from the government for publishing the article, which appeared in a leading English national daily on Tuesday.
The article amounted to contempt of court, Kanam said adding it was not right on the part of the bureaucrat to express his opinion in this manner at a time when a magisterial inquiry was on. The article would send a wrong message, he said.
Four Maoists — Karthi, Rema, Aravind and Manivasagan — were killed allegedly in an exchange of fire started by the ultras during a two-day police combing operation in Palakkad district last week.
The LDF government, led by Pinarayi Vijayan, had been receiving flak since the past few days over the Maoist killings and the arrest of two student activists under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Jose had in the article titled "It is like war: kill or be killed", justified the police action and said that during the recent shootings, the security personnel had only done their duty to protect the citizens from the onslaught of Maoists. He further wrote that the ultras did not deserve even basic human rights.
CPI assistant secretary Prakash Babu told reporters the chief secretary cannot write such an article, especially when the House is in session and it was against procedure. A magisterial probe was on and the article would send a wrong message to officers, he said.
Rajendran added that while the CPI was not expressing support to the Maoists, but law enforcement agencies cannot shoot them from a close range.
The matter also had its echo in the state assembly, with Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala making a reference to it, saying it was a "serious matter".
Vijayan said he had not read the article, while adding that Jose had not sought the government’s nod to write the piece and it was his personal opinion.
A team of CPI MLAs, which visited the Attapady forest after the incident, had opined that the Maoists were gunned down in a fake encounter. A report of their findings was handed over to the chief minister on Tuesday.
(With inputs from PTI)