Six villages in Belthangady taluk, including Naravi where a police constable died during an encounter on October 8, form part of the Kudremukh National Park In all, “naxalites” are said to be active in 11 villages in the taluk.
Dakshina Kannada'a link to “naxalites” first came to the fore on December 25, 2006 when Naravi Dinakar was killed in Kermadi near Kigga in Shimoga district. Dinakar was a resident of Kotyanadka in Belthangady taluk in Dakshina Kannada. Vasanth, who also hails from Kotyanadka, was killed in an encounter in Moodlupady near Hebri in Karkala taluk on February 28, 2011.
Incidentally, these two “naxalites” are related to Sundari, who is among the 20 people that the police are looking for. While Sundari was married to Dinakar, she was the younger sister of Vasanth. Sundari is among the three “naxalities” mentioned in the first information report related to October 8 encounter in which constable Mahadeva S. Mane was killed.
That the naxalites have a presence in the district was emphasised when pamphlets issued by the Communist Party of India (Maoist) asking people to boycott elections were found in some villages near Venoor in Belthangady taluk in April 2009.
Barring these, no other incidents had been reported. According to Superintendent of Police Labhu Ram, there are about three “naxalite” groups that are active in Dakshina Kannada. The district police and the Anti Naxal Force (ANF) personnel have been regularly conducting combing operations.
Mr. Ram says the police have been keeping track of movement of the “naxalite” groups and also conducting public contact programme in the “naxalite” affected areas.
Deputy Inspector-General of Police and the ANF Commander Alok Kumar says the State Government is taking steps to streamline the working of the ANF. Mr. Kumar, who has just returned after an eight-week course in Strategic Management at the Cambridge University, U.K., says work is on to develop an exclusive force for the naxal operations.
At present, the ANF, which comprises personnel from the erstwhile Special Task Force involved in Anti Veerappan operations and the Karnataka State Reserve Police personnel, work with the force for about three months.