Hyderabad: A team of doctors on Friday conducted re-postmortem on the bodies of three Maoists, including two women, who were killed in an alleged encounter at Chennapuram forest of Cherla mandal in Bhadradri-Kothagudem district on September 23. The re-postmortem was ordered by the Telangana High Court while hearing a writ petition filed by Gaddam Laxman, president of Civil Liberties Committee.
The three killed have been identified as members of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) -- Sodi Jogaiah (25) from Kistarampadu village in Charla Mandal, Madakam Malli (22) from Charla mandal, and Madakam Mangi (24) from a tribal hamlet in Andhra Pradesh's Kukunoor mandal.
While the police claimed that the deaths were due to “exchange of firing”, petitioner Gaddam Laxman challenged them as being “illegal, arbitrary” and in “gross violation of the right to life and personal liberty.”
The petitioner argued that the post-mortems of the deceased were conducted hastily and in absence of forensic experts. A bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B Vijaysen Reddy on Thursday directed the state government to conduct re-postmortem by forensic expert doctors at MGM Hospital in Warangal. The court has also asked for photographic and video evidence of the procedure to be submitted at the time of the next hearing.
The dead bodies were handed over to the relatives of the Maoist activists after the second autopsy.
“The National Human Rights Commission and the previous judgments of the high court have made it clear that the team of forensic expert doctors must be part of autopsies in cases of alleged encounters. Forensic scientific reports will establish whether the police firing was a genuine one or fake encounter,” Raghunath V, the petitioner’s counsel told NewsClick.
“The court will now see if there are any inconsistencies between the previous autopsy reports and the new ones in these three killings,” he added.
In his petition, Laxman argued that the three were illegally killed and urged the court to direct authorities to book the involved police officials under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. He also sought a probe by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) or Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the alleged police firings that killed the Maoists.
For the last several months, hundreds of police and security forces have been deployed in tribal regions of the state mainly to track movements of Maoists. Earlier this month, Telangana Director General of Police M Mahender Reddy conducted an aerial survey of Asifabad, Kumaram Bheem, Adilabad and Mancherial districts to check the Maoists.
According to newspaper reports, in September, at least eight Maoist activists (four of them women) were killed in controversial encounters in Telangana.
Meanwhile, terming the eight encounters as “fake,” CPI (Maoist) has called for a state-wide bandh on September 28.
In a statement reportedly issued by the banned party’s spokesperson Jagan, the eight activists were picked up by the police when they were meeting villagers or going to hospitals for medical treatment. Jagan demanded a judicial probe into the encounters and stringent punishment for the policemen and politicians involved.