The Anti-Naxal Force (ANF), led by Inspector-General of Police and ANF chief Alok Kumar, began conducting an ‘area domination exercise’ in the border areas of Kodagu and Mysore districts from Sunday in view of rumours that naxal elements could cross over from the Wayanad region in Kerala.

‘Preemptive move’

Disclosing this to The Hindu on Sunday, Mr. Kumar said “this is a sort of pre-emptive exercise” to stop the movement of naxals into Mysore area. The naxal team was reportedly sighted at Udumbe and Makutta areas in Kodagu last month, bordering Kerala, he said.

On asked whether the operation was on in H.D. Kote or the Nagarahole National Park areas, Mr. Kumar stated that “we are keeping a vigil in all areas wherever forest connectivity is there”.

After the area domination exercise, which will go on for another two or three days, concludes, the ANF would leave it to the local police to deal with the situation.

The naxal team comprised five to six members and was taking cover in the forests, Mr. Kumar stated. Vigil was also being maintained in Kutta area of Kodagu which was closer to Kerala forests.

To a question on whether the naxals were perambulating the forests in Karnataka, Kerala and even Tamil Nadu to form a ‘red corridor’,Mr. Kumar replied in the negative.

Though the naxals had been visiting certain households in Kodagu and Dakshina Kannada districts, they had not succeeded in getting the support of local people, he said. The same team was sighted in Wayanad and Mallapuram areas of Kerala some time ago.

The red corridor theory had come to light after the ANF seized certain documents from naxal hideouts at Belthangady in Dakshina Kannada district some time ago, according to a source.

The literature mentioned connecting forest areas of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The naxals had plans to cross over to the Nagarahole National Park area, then to Bandipur and Mudumalai in Tamil Nadu, sources said. According to an environmentalist in Kodagu, the district had evergreen and intractable forests. Entering the forests would be very tough for the naxals as also searching them for the ANF. On the other hand, forests in the Nagarahole National Park area could be easier for the naxals to move around and at the same time the ANF would also be in a position to track them easily.

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