The Naxal Special Division and the Special Task Force (STF) of the Tamil Nadu Police tightened security along the border with Kerala in the Nilgiris and Coimbatore, and carried out combing operations on Thursday, after an alleged Maoist, C.P. Jaleel, was killed in a gunfight with Kerala Police’s anti-Maoist force, Thunderbolt, on the premises of a resort at Vythiri in Wayanad district on Wednesday night.
K. Periaiah, Inspector General of Police (West Zone), said 10 NSD teams were deployed at strategically important places in six districts, especially in the Nilgiris and Coimbatore.
“Three NSD teams conducted the combing operations in the Nilgiris and Coimbatore along with STF.
“A similar exercise was done by one NSD team each in Tirupur, Erode, Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri districts. All the hospitals in these districts have been told to alert us about men who seek treatment for bullet injuries,” he said. Tamil Nadu Police officials said the Kerala Police had intimated them that at least two persons, alleged to be Maoists, could have sustained serious injuries in the gunfight. They could have fled to the Nilgiris, where they might seek treatment .
Intelligence officers tracking Left wing extremism have stepped up surveillance in tribal settlements and villages in six districts.
The Nilgiris Superintendent of police D. Shanmuga Priya said “We have strengthened all the six checkposts along the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border”.
Vigil in heavily forested regions would also be increased, with police and the Forest Department communicating with each other, police officials said.
While the Nilgiris shares a border with Wayanad district, where movement of persons alleged to be Maoists is frequently reported, forest patches of Nilambur in Malappuram district and Attappadi-Agali belt in Palakkad connect Wayanad with Coimbatore.
In November 2016, alleged Maoists named Kuppu Devaraj and Ajitha were killed in an encounter by the Thunderbolt, the elite commando force of the Kerala Police.