Close on the heels of the death of a suspected Maoist leader recently in an encounter, the Anti-Naxal Force (ANF) has continued its manhunt in Sakaleshpur taluk where the Maoists are reportedly active.
The ANF teams visited two houses on Friday at Sinkeri, where a six-member group, including a woman, are said to have sought food.Sources said that six armed people came to the house owned by Lokesh Gowda by
Gowda’s wife Meenakshi and another woman Pushpa were afraid to open the door as the men of the household were away at work.
The group, claiming to be Maoists, told the women that they did not have food for the last five days. They threatened to sleep in the front yard if the women refused them food.
The women said they cooked rice and ‘rasam’, and poured them into the plastic covers held by the Maoists outside the window in the front yard.
On Friday morning, they reportedly went to the house of Gowda’s brother, Gowdegowda, and sought rice and salt.
When he refused, they said they had camped in the region to fight against the injustices meted out to people in Chikmagalur by the government. They said that they wouldn’t do any harm to the innocent and even offered to pay for the rice given to them, Gowda said.
The residents panicked to see the armed group and gave them 15kg rice and some salt. Alerted by the news that the police would arrive at the place, the group dissappeared into the forest, Gowda said.
Gangamma, a resident who was grazing cattle in the forest, said that two armed men asked her for details of the surrounding villages on Thursday afternoon.
The ANF personnel, in four separate groups led by DSP Amith Singh, DySP Upendra, SP Vedamurthy, ASP Shankar, along with Inspector Deepak Patel, PSIs Deepak, Raju and Pradeep – are combing the forest for the suspected Maoists.