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Nov 26, 2011 at 10:06pm IST

Kishenji killing may end govt-Maoist peace talks

Kolkata: According to a government-conducted postmortem report, all bullets that hit top Maoist leader Mallojula Koteswara Rao alias Kishenji were fired at him from a distance, thereby contradicting allegations that the Maoist commander was killed in a fake encounter.

Maoist leader Kishenji's body was handed over to his relatives at the Midnapore Medical College on Saturday following the autopsy after Kishenji's niece Deepa Rao identified the body as that of her uncle's.

Poet and Maoist sympathiser Varavara Rao, who accompanied Deepa to Midnapore from Andhra Pradesh to identify the body, reiterated his allegation that Kishenji was killed in a fake encounter.

He substantiated his claim by asserting that he found injury marks all over Kishenji's body, which were not made by bullet or grenade splinters. The injury marks, he said, were signs of torture inflicted upon the Maoist leader by the joint forces before he was killed.

"This is a fake encounter as there are injuries all over the body. There is burn injury in his legs apart from bullet injures. We want CBI inquiry into the matter and we are taking his body today to his native village," said Varavara Rao.

The government-conducted post mortem report however finds the allegation unfounded. It says that six bullet heads and two grenade splinter particles were found on the body, and that there were atleast twenty bullet and splinter injuries on Kishenjis body, all of which hit the Maoist leader from a distance. This indicates that Kishenji was not shot from a point-blank range and hence rules out foulplay.

Unconvinced, Kishgenji's relatives have demanded a judicial probe into the killing.

"Evrytime there is an encounter it has become habitual to call it fake. We are not surprised," said CRPF DG K Vijaykumar.

The West Bengal government has already ordered a CID probe into the encounter, but Maoist sympathisers feel that the killing has well and truly ended any possibility of peace talks with the guerrillas for now.

The progress of peace talks with Maoists seems to have met with a dead end even before it properly began. The West Bengal government can claim success having eliminated the most important Maoist leader of the region, but that may come at a price of renewed ultra-Left violence in the days ahead.