MALAPPURAM: Reports about the sighting a group of armed people in Agali forest region have put the police in Nilambur, Mannarkkad, and Agali on alert. Police suspect they could be Maoists. It was two days ago, the tribal people living in the Paloor area of Agali forest informed Agali police about a group of armed persons inside the forest. They wore black coats and carried huge bundles, said the tribal people who went to gather firewood. Talking to TOI, Agali circle inspector Manojkumar said that the area is only one kilometer away from the forest border. “It is not the first time we have received such information. But we take the matter seriously and will take proper action to find out the truth behind it,” the CI said. A police team headed by SI of Paloor has already conducted searches in the area.
Earlier, there were reports that Maoists had spread their activities among the tribal people in Nilambur, Wayanad and Agali. The Maoists were said to be planning to win over the hearts of the tribal people in the Gudallur region in Tamil Nadu. Following this forest and police departments of both Tamil Nadu and Kerala conducted raids inside the forest several times during the past six months. Divisional forest officer Nilambur A Rajan said that the forest officials in Nilambur were on high alert following reports about the Maoist presence in the region. “The forest department’s team has already conducted searches in Agali and Silent Valley region,” he said.
In July, a joint team of police and forest department officials had conducted a detailed search inside the forest region of Nilambur following reports that two Maoists were killed in the forest in an encounter with the special police force. But they could not find anything. Meanwhile, police have already launched many interactive programmes with tribal people in the region as part of the activities to counter the threat from Maoists. By befriending them the police aim to collect detailed information on the presence and activities of Maoists inside the forest. The police team which investigated the arrest of two Maoists from Nilambur area last year had found that the Maoists had extended their activities to Kerala with the help of tribal people.Divisional forest officer (DFO) Nilambur A Rajan has said the forest officials in Nilambur were already on alert as there were reports of Maoist presence in the region.