After it emerged that four of the 12 alleged Maoists killed by state and Central police in Jharkhand on Monday (June 8) were children, it has now turned out that only seven have been identified. Six of them had no police cases against them. Worse, the police have yet to file a First Information Report in the case, with the Inspector General of Palamau saying that the police have violated the 24-hour FIR rule because "officers are likely to be writing the FIR carefully." The authorities had passed off the attack as being one of the most successful operations on Maoists in the area in recent times, claiming that they had manage to take down RK Prasad, a well-known Naxalite allegedly involved in planting explosives. But the operation also saw the killing of Prasad's son, his nephew and several other youngsters, the relatives of whom have been adamant that they were not Maoists.
The families, many of whom admit Prasad was a Maoist, are calling the incident a "fake encounter". They are asking whether it is a crime to be a relative of an alleged criminal and have asserted that they will be going to court in the case. The authorities meanwhile, have been unable to identify the four minors who were killed. If even membership of a Maoist body is not a crime, as the Kerala High Court has established, how could being related to one mean you are marked out for death?