MADURAI: Acting on an alert from their Kerala counterparts over the alleged infiltration of 15 unidentified persons into the state, the Tamil Nadu police involving teams from the Q Branch, Special Task Force and Armed Reserve teams were completely combing the forest areas in Theni bordering Kerala.
Ten days back there was a exchange of fire between the police and suspected Maoists in the Waynad forests in Kerala and the Naxal group members, including three women, were suspected to have escaped. Under these circumstances, the Kerala forest department suspected that a group of 15 people could have sneaked into Tamil Nadu and alerted the state police here.
TN police said that around five teams with members drafted from the special units were conducting an intensive check in the forest regions, mainly in in Kambam Mettu forest, Egaloothu Road, Kalludaichan Paarai and Suranganaru Falls, in Theni district bordering Kerala.
Sources said that the teams were also conducting enquiries in the hamlets along the Kerala border to find out if the residents spotted any strangers in their area. The TN forest officials have also initiated a separate search operation. Police said that so far they have not found any suspicious persons in the forest limits.
Checks in D’puri
Meanwhile, a special team with personnel drawn from the police, Naxal Special Duty (NSD) and forest officials have started combing the Morappur forest range on Friday after reports over movement of strangers surfaced a few days ago.
It is said that a few days back, a farmer spotted a group of eight persons, including two women, cooking food at H Agraharam village in the Morappur forest range in the H Agraharam village. On seeing the farmer, the group allegedly vanished from the spot.
Based on the information from the farmer, a police team rushed the spot and recovered vegetables and sarees, which were reportedly used by the group. Subsequently, the police launched a combing operation in the region.
As the NSD is also involved in the combing operation, it is suspected that the group members could be part of a Naxal movement.
Moreover, a villager said, “a few days ago there was a deafening sound from the Pennagarm forest range. Initially it was suspected that the sound could have been a chopper crash, but after a two days search, the police declared that no chopper had crashed in the forest. However, they could not find out the exact reason for the sound. Meanwhile, some villagers saw a group cooking food in the forests range. So, locals suspect the movement of an armed group undergoing training in the forests in Dharmapuri.”
When enquired Intelligence sources said, “We doubt that the noise from the Pennagaram forest range might could have been due to testing of weapons.”