In a latest development, Anti-Naxal Force (ANF) personnel, in collaboration with police from Udupi and Chikkamagaluru districts, have escalated combing operations following reports of suspected Maoist movement in some parts of Udupi district.
According to police sources, sightings of a group of five individuals have occurred multiple times in the past month in Kollur, Mudur, and Belkal villages of Udupi district, including as recently as 5 February.
The date holds significance for Maoists as it marks the anniversary of the encounter death of suspected Maoist Saketh Rajan in Menasinahadya near Kalasa in Chikkamagaluru district.
As per reports by The Hindu, Villagers have observed individuals wearing 'monkey' caps in the early hours, conversing in Kannada.
However, their identities remain unclear to authorities.
"We are yet to determine whether these sightings are legitimate or if they could be a tactic employed by Maoists to deter locals or even mistaken sightings of night trekkers," said a police official involved in the matter.
Meanwhile, Kerala police has arrested two individuals identified as Chandru and Unnimaya, alleged members of Banasura Dalam of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), seizing an AK-47 assault rifle and two country-made shotguns.
Another alleged Maoist, Kavita, sustained injuries in the encounter and later succumbed to the injuries.
Given past Maoist activity in areas surrounding Kollur, Mudur, and Belkal in Udupi district, and the historical significance of Menasinahadya in Chikkamagaluru district, authorities have intensified search operations in these regions.
Close surveillance has been established at transit points, including train and bus stations, with thorough checks conducted at forest route checkpoints, as stated by the police officials.
Nayan Dwivedi is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
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