Patrolling intensified in the wake of ban on Maoists

STATE OF ALERT: STF personnel conducting a combing operation in the Mudumalai Hill areas on Tuesday.  

S. Vijay Kumar

STF combing forests in Vellore, Krishnagiri, Nilgiris

CHENNAI: The Special Task Force has launched combing operations in the forests of Vellore, Krishnagiri and the Nilgiri districts following the Centre’s ban on the Communist Party of India (Maoist).

According to Inspector General of Police (STF) C. Sylendra Babu, random checks were being conducted in coordination with the local police in Theni and Dindigul districts. “We have intensified patrolling in areas where Maoist activities have been reported in the recent past. After the Veerappan operation, the flow of information from tribal villages has improved. STF personnel are in constant touch with the villagers and any suspicious activity cannot escape our notice,” he told The Hindu on Tuesday.

Dr. Babu said N. Navin alias Suresh alias Prasad (25) of Semmanahalli in Dharmapuri district, considered the leader of the Tamil Nadu Maoist movement, was gunned down by the STF at Vadakaunji near Kodaikanal in April 2008. Five armed naxalites, including one from Chattisgarh, were arrested after a fierce gun battle in the Varushanadu Hills the previous year.

“We have stepped up vigil in these zones…The focus is also on Udhagamandalam, where combing operations are under way in the Mudumalai Hills. STF personnel have instructions to visit villages at least once in a month and interact with the people.”

According to senior police officer, intelligence agencies had warned of possible infiltration of Maoists from other States with the intention of causing sabotage.

The active participation of Left wing extremists in agitations in favour of Sri Lankan Tamils was a matter of concern.

Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) K. Radhakrishnan said Superintendents of Police in some districts had been told to maintain alert in sensitive areas. “Special teams have been formed to apprehend Maoist cadre or their supporters, who are absconding. Local police will work with STF in patrolling and combing operations. The police in all districts have been instructed to execute pending non-bailable arrest warrants.”