Three Maoists, including a top woman ultra leader, lost life in an encounter with the police deep inside the forest region of Nilambur in Kerala on Thursday morning.  

 

 Asianet News reports that the three Maoists who were killed in the fight with a joint team of police and Thunderbolt, include Kappu Devaraj from Tamil Nadu, a central committee member of CPI (Maoist) of Western Ghat Zonal Wing and Ajitha. The third Maoist, who was killed in the encounter, is yet to be identified. 

 

 The police assume that there were 11 members in the Maoist group that confronted the force. There are unconfirmed reports that some police officials also got injured in the conflict. One of the deceased is from Tamil Nadu who was on the run for over 20 years, according to initial reports. 

 

Maoists fired at a Thunderbolt team, the special commando team formed to tackle the Maoist menace, in the morning on Thursday followed by a heavy exchange of fire. The commandoes were engaged in a routine search operation three kilometres from the Padukka forest region in Nilambur, which is known as a Maoist-frequented area. 

 

A team consisting of 150 police men and Thunderbolt commandoes are part of the search operations in the past two months after suspected Maoists opened fire at the police at Mundakkadavu tribal colony in the locality. 

 

This is perhaps the first armed conflict of Maoists with security forces in Kerala in which the ultra group is suffering casualties. Massive combing operations in Malappuram, Wayanad and Kannur is on to nab the ultras who escaped from the spot. 


  
In the last week of September, armed cadres of the CPI (Maoist) had organised celebrations in connection with the 12th anniversary of the party’s  formation in the Nilambur forests. The Maoists had also held a march past at Mukkavala that shares a border with Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The incident came to light when the Maoists released a press note and photographs of the celebration. 


 
The press release claimed that central and state committee leaders of the party attended the function. The function began with a march past of People's Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) led by Chellan, a top leader of the group.  He formally inaugurated the deliberations by hoisting the party flag. 
 
 
On 21 September, the Western Ghats Zonal Committee of the CPI (Maoist) had released a press statement exhorting the people of Kerala to join the fight for the uplift of tribal people and against the exploitation by government.