Maoist presence in Wayanad: Police groping in the dark

The reported presence of Malayalam-speaking people and the recovery of pamphlets printed in Malayalam from an encounter site at Baginamale Reserve Forest area near Subrahmanya in Karnataka on September 5 have once again put the state police and the Intelligence officials on tenterhooks.

Despite several rounds of joint combing operations, the police and the forest officials are yet to get  clear evidence to confirm Maoist operations in the state.

Though the officials from the state police department had visited the encounter site in which a Maoist cadre was killed, it did not get any evidence of Maoist presence in the area.

“There are specific reports that Maoists are expanding their base to Kerala through Wayanad, especially concentrating at the ‘tri-junction’ which borders Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. But it is yet to locate any hideouts or get definite evidence regarding their operations in the areas,” said a top police official.

He further said that after receiving information from the Karnataka Police that extremists might have sneaked into the forests area in Wayanad, police, along with officials of the Forest Department had conducted joint combing operations in forest areas bordering Karnataka last week.

“So far, nothing suspicious has been found and we are closely monitoring the situation,” the official added. He also said that a decision has already been taken to intensify the combing operations, including those deep into the forests, and to review the situation on a regular basis.

Police sources further said that though it is yet to garner evidence to prove that tribal settlements in the border areas of Wayanad have been used for extremist operations, they are not ruling  out the possibilities of recruitments from these areas.

“At present, activities of the groups related to Maoists are reportedly concentrated at Nilambur forests and areas bordering Malappuram and Palakkad.

Though there were reports that Maoist sympathisers had visited the tribal colonies in Wayanad and are expanding their base especially along the tri-junction, we have not yet been able to establish the fact.

But at the same time, we could not rule out the possibility of recruitments from these areas as a lot of tribal people have gone to Karnataka for employment. Facts relating to this could only be proved after a detailed investigation,” sources added
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