The Union Home Ministry has alerted the State police about the possibility of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) trying to create trouble during the Lok Sabha polls on April 10.
Official sources told The Hindu here on Thursday that the Ministry had sounded the warning in view of the campaigning hotting up in the State. Armed cadres belonging to the CPI (Maoist) had earlier visited various Adivasi colonies in Kannur, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Malappuram and Palakkad at least 50 times after they were first sighted in Kanjirakolly in Kannur district early last year.
Inspector General of Police (Kannur Range) Suresh Raj Purohit, who is overseeing the anti-Maoist operations in the State, said that Thunderbolt commandos, along with the local police, were keeping vigil over suspected tribal regions. No sighting has been reported in north Kerala during the last one month, he said.
He said that the police had no idea whether the Naxalites had receded into the forest in the wake of combing operations or whether they were waiting for an opportunity to strike. In any case, the police were on alert and forces were coordinating with their counterparts in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, Mr. Purohit said.
Several booths in north Kerala have been classified either as hyper-sensitive or critical in the Maoist-sighted regions. Battalions attached to the Central Industrial Security Force would be deployed in these polling stations. All these polling booths would also have video-surveillance. The security in the tri-junction bordering Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu has also been stepped up following intelligence inputs. Activities of the banned outfit at the tri-junction were reported as early as 2011. It is believed that the outfit had plans to create a red corridor from Jharkhand to Wayanad.
Incidents such as setting ablaze an earth-mover at Kavilumpara panchayat in Kozhikode and attack on local people in Nilambur colonies in Malappuram district had made the police to step up vigil during the polls. Members of the Western Ghats Special Zonal Committee of CPI (Maoist) had distributed copies of Maoist bulletins.
Intelligence agencies said that the recent attack on the security forces in South Chhattisgarh was part of the annual tactical counter offensive campaign of the Maoists. By and large, such operations were to demonstrate their strength during the summer. The attack, however, coincided with the Lok Sabha elections.
These counter-attacks are generally carried out in the affected areas, including Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. Such types of attacks are not expected in the State. But it is the 10th year of the formation of the CPI (Maoist). So the extremists disrupting Lok Sabha polls or creating mischief could not be ruled out, officials said.