Maoist boot camp held in Palakkad forest last month
KOZHIKODE: Around 20 armed cadres of the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) attended a training camp organized by Maoists deep inside the jungles of Palakkad last month. The camp was led by Kuppu Devraj alias Manju alias Shanker, the CPI (Maoist) central committee member hailing from Karnataka. Ayyappan, a tribal who surrendered before police two weeks ago after spending a few months with the Maoists, is learnt to have told cops that new recruits had also participated in the camp alongside identified Maoist leaders and squad members.
The cadres were advised to avoid human casualty while attacking government institutions. Ayyappan told police that he left the Maoist fold after hearing plans about attacking government offices. In a related development, Maoists raided a police outpost at Atti under Karuvarakkundu police station in Malappuram on Monday. Two armed Maoists arrived at the outpost around 5pm when a forest warden was cooking food. Another tribal guard on duty was away to buy provisions.
The Maoists, led by their leader Soman, searched the outpost for weapons and took classes on the issues faced by tribespeople and the government’s apathy towards them, for about two hours. They were joined by three more Maoists who were waiting outside. They then waited for the person who had gone out and conducted a class for him too. After spending around three hours with the forest staff, the Maoists left the outpost. Police came to know about the incident only the day after. The arrest of Maoist leaders including Murali Kannamballi and Roopesh seems to have had no effect on the activities of Maoist cadres operating in the forest.
Though the arrest has crippled urban activities, the movement of the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) has been uninterrupted. After a brief lull, the armed squads have resumed visiting tribal colonies in Palakkad and Wayanad districts. The ease with which they are moving around tribal colonies is a cause of concern for police. Maoists have succeeded in winning the hearts of at least one section of the tribespeople, who are reluctant to pass on information on the movements of the red rebels to police. In Palakkad, a Maoist was stranded in a tribal colony when police arrived for a combing operation last month. Tribespeople in the colony helped him stay inside their hut and waited outside to divert the attention of police.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on CPI (Maoist) in Tamil Nadu-Kerala-Karnataka “tri-junction”
Referring to movement of Maoist cadres in Tamil Nadu-Kerala-Karnataka “tri-junction” (along the Western Ghats falling in three States including Nilgiris District in Tamil Nadu), she said Tamil Nadu has been taking “proactive steps to curb the menace.” “Maoist movements have been sighted in the tri-junction area since 2013 and Tamil Nadu has been taking proactive steps to curb this menace.” Stressing on “concerted and coordinated action” by all three States on both security and development fronts, she said “it would ensure that Maoist activity is not allowed to take root in this area.
Combing operations have been intensified and five Maoists were arrested and local police stations have been strengthened and forces have been augmented to meet the challenges, she said. Senior Maoist leader Rupesh alias Jogi, who headed the “Western Ghats Special Zonal Committee,” and four others were arrested in Coimbatore in May this year. “My government has already requested the Ministry of Home Affairs to include the Nilgiris District in the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) list,” Ms. Jayalalithaa said.
Request has been made to the Centre to reimburse security expenditure to the tune of Rs. 2.4 crore and the sanction Rs. 10.11 crore under Integrated Action Plan to create infrastructure and service facilities for security agencies, she said. “All collectors of districts adjoining Western Ghats have been sensitised to conduct mass contact meetings in tribal villages and to address their grievances relating to livelihood and infrastructure.”