Intelligence agencies have warned Karnataka that Maoists are attempting to regroup in Malnad area of the State, benefiting from police’s reluctance to initiate action against the armed insurgents and growing discontent among the villagers living close to the thick jungles of the Western Ghat over their land ownership.
The Maoists are giving high priority to increasing their footfalls in the about 100-kilometre stretch of Malnad area – comprising seven districts of Chikmagalur, Shimoga, parts of Udupi, Dakshina Kannada, Hassan and Kodagu – and have deputed central committee member Kuppu Swami to establish a base and recruit cadres.
Swami, who hails from Bangalore, has been tasked with supervising the expansion plan as he is familiar with the territory and knows the local dialect.
Masquerading under assumed identities such as Kuppu Devaraj, Ramesh, Rayanna, Balaji, Jogesh and Yogesh, Kuppu Swami carries a reward of Rs 7 lakh and Rs 10 lakh announced by Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh governments respectively. Intelligence inputs with the security forces suggest that the cadres from neighbouring Tamil Nadu and Kerala are camping in the Western Ghats along with local naxals belonging to groups led by Vikram Gowda and Latha and Mahesh and Sundari.
The presence of a Maoist camp in Dakshina Kannada district surfaced after the local police conducted an operation near Mittabagilu village on March 10, this year, to flush out the insurgents. Though the Naxals escaped during the counter but police had seized large quantities of arms and ammunition from their abandoned camp including grenade, pistol and gun, raising eyebrows of the security forces.
After the encounter, it is learnt that the D V Sadananda Gowda administration was cautioned to act before the Maoists establish a base.
The State is not able to address grievances of agitated villagers living in Kudremukh National Park area and neighbouring Bhadra wildlife sanctuary. The ultras are suspected to be exploiting the resentment brewing among the people who fear eviction as their lands would be taken over to expand Bhadra Tiger Project. Security forces officials said Maoist leaders were working on to aggravate the local residents fears. Their front reportedly put up posters near Rushyashringeshwara temple in Kigga area of Chikmagalur district December 30 last year.