The Special Task Force of the Tamil Nadu police has launched a combing operation in the Mudumalai forest area ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the Theppakadu elephant camp in the Nilgiris on April 9.
Stationing armed guards at vantage points, STF special teams are working with Forest Department staff members to scan vulnerable stretches along the route of the Prime Minister’s convoy, police sources said on Friday. Mr. Modi is expected to arrive at Theppakadu on Sunday. He will meet Bomman and Bellie, who featured in The Elephant Whisperers, the Oscar-winning documentary.
The police have asked the owners of hotels, resorts and restaurants to stop operations temporarily and barred tourists from Mudumalai, which is home to the national park and wildlife sanctuary.
“This is a joint operation in close coordination with the police of neighbouring States. The CPI(Maoist) has been trying to revive its hold in the tri-junction forests of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala as part of its efforts to establish the Western Ghats Special Zonal Committee. We have intensified patrolling along the border areas after an input from the Kerala police that some Maoists were sighted in the tri-junction area,” a senior police officer told The Hindu.
The local police would sanitise up to 200 metres on either side of the VVIP road route, while STF personnel would be in position beyond that, along with Forest Department personnel.
“We are making sure that animals/birds are not disturbed by the security plan. Guards have been stationed at all high-rise structures and on elevated rocky surfaces in the secured area,” he said.
K. Shankar, Additional Director-General of Police, Law and Order, is camping in Coimbatore and supervising the security arrangements in the Nilgiris. The Prime Minister is scheduled to leave for Mysuru by helicopter from Theppakadu on Sunday.
A strong contingent of commandos and hundreds of police personnel, drawn from various units, have been deployed at and around the venue of the event under the supervision of Inspector-General of Police, West Zone, R. Sudhakar, the sources added.