Karnataka, Kerala police search for Maoists in forest

The Kerala and Karnataka Police have launched a joint combing operation in the forest bordering the two states, looking for an eight-member Maoist group reportedly sighted in the area. A woman was also reported to be seen with the well-armed group.

A contingent of 60 elite Thunderbolt commandos of Kerala Police, specially trained to take on terrorists, rushed to Wayanad and Kannur on Wednesday to help the police in the operation.

According to Kannur district police chief Rahul Nair, plantation workers sighted the Maoists carrying rice and other essentials sufficient for two weeks.

The Maoists were spotted inside Kerala side at Kanamvayal, nearly 18 km away from Cherupuzha in the district, Nair said. He said that it was almost confirmed that a member of the group is a Malayalee. Nair said the group had recently attacked the Karnataka Forest department officers and escaped with the latter’s guns.

Karnataka police showed the plantation workers who had sighted the group, photographs of 24 Maoists in the state and the workers had identified four of them. The Karnataka police suspect that the Maoists might have escaped to the Talacauvery area.

Security at the police stations in Wayanad and Kannur districts that are located inside forest area has been beefed up, following intelligence report that the Maoists plan to attack these police stations.

Forest Minister Ganesh Kumar had drawn the attention of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy towards the presence of Maoists in Kerala forests, but no proper action has been taken, say government sources.

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