Tamil Nadu security agencies launch combing operation

Security agencies launched an intensive combing operation along the western districts bordering Kerala since Sunday evening, following the seizure of maps, blood-stained imported knives and battery covers at a check-dam on the Top Slip-Parambikulam stretch in Coimbatore district, police sources said.

Patrolling intensified

With intelligence agencies suspecting the movement of some extremist elements, all forest and police check-posts have been strengthened with armed personnel.

Patrolling along the Kerala border has been intensified and a joint operation comprising Special Task Force (STF) and forest personnel continued in the reserve forests abutting Anamalai police station limits.

Villager Vigilance Committees have been alerted to look for the movement of any strangers in their respective areas.

“The materials were found by a STF team that was involved in anti-poaching operations.

Surveillance has been enhanced owing to the tiger breeding season.

Sixteen Google Maps containing vital information of border/forest areas of Tamil Nadu have been found abandoned.

The imported knives of Chinese make, a couple of them blood-stained, were found at two different places. Some dirty clothes and dry bamboos were also found at the scene which is 200-metres away from the Kerala border,” a top police official said.

Investigators are looking at the possibility of the suspects entering the State from Kerala.

Analysis

“It appears that the suspects fled on seeing the STF personnel coming towards them. We have informed the Kerala police about the incident. A packet of white crystal powder that looked like salt and some big-sized blades found in the area have been sent for analysis,” he said.

Manhunt

STF personnel were coordinating with special teams of the Intelligence Bureau and State police who are hunting for Asif (23) of New Delhi, a suspected Indian Mujahideen operative, who escaped from a house in Selaiyur (Chennai) hours before police stormed and arrested two others.

Maoist activities

“Prima facie, it appears that the intruders might have been Maoists or Al Umma cadres.

Though there are precedents of Maoist activities in forest areas along the Western Ghats, we also suspect the movement of other extremists in view of the Babri Masjid demolition anniversary on December 6,” the official said.