Slain Maoists to be flown to Chhattisgarh town

Khammam (Andhra Pradesh), April 17 (IANS) The bodies of nine Maoists killed in a shootout with police on the Chhattisgarh-Andhra Pradesh border are likely to be flown to a district town in Chhattisgarh Wednesday, an official said.

Amid protests by the relatives of some of the slain Maoists and human rights activists, the police were making arrangements for airlifting the bodies to the Bijapur district town of Chhattisgarh. A helicopter also landed near the hospital to shift the bodies, the official said.

Police made tight security at a government hospital at Bhadrachalam, about 120 km from here, where the bodies, retrieved from the deep forest site of the shootout, were taken and kept since Tuesday evening.

Tension prevailed at the hospital since morning as the relatives of the slain Maoists staged a protest and demanded that they be allowed to see the bodies.

Telugu Desam Party (TDP) legislator from Warangal district Seethakka, who also visited the hospital, told reporters that the police were not obeying the court orders to allow the families of the Maoists to see their bodies.

She said all the Maoists killed in the incident were from weaker sections of society and belonged to her constituency.

Rights activists and Maoist sympathisers demanded that the bodies be handed over to their relatives. Revolutionary Writers’ Association president Varavara Rao criticised the police attempts to shift the bodies to Chhattisgarh.

He said the autopsy should be done at Bhadrachalam and bodies be handed over to their relatives.

Varavara Rao also alleged that the Maoists were not killed in a gunfight as being claimed by the police. He suspected it to be a “covert operation” by the police. The Maoist sympathiser said the Maoists might have been poisoned.

Police said the Maoists, including five women, were killed in a joint operation by Chhattisgarh Police and commandos of Greyhounds, an elite anti-Maoist force of Andhra Pradesh Police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in the forests of Chhattisgarh, about 15 km from the Andhra Pradesh border.

All slain Maoists of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) were from Warangal, Karimnagar and other districts of Andhra Pradesh. According to police, more than 100 Maoist guerrillas were holed up when the rebels came under intense fire.

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