CHENNAI: As operations to flush out Naxalites intensify in central India, the Maoists are moving to the Western Ghats in search of a haven.
Intelligence sources have confirmed Naxalite movements in Theni, Dindigul and Kodaikanal, especially in the hill regions. Maoists from Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh are moving into Tamil Nadu, which has not yet intensified operations against Naxalites.
Maoists disguised as vendors sneaked into the state by road with weapons. Hindi and Telugu speaking Maoists get in touch with local members.
Sources said, Police and paramilitary forces in Naxalite-prone states have killed 45 Naxalites in the last six months.
So Naxalites come down south where they can campaign for their movements without running into trouble. Women cadre are now actively participating in Maoist campaigns in tribal areas.
Women Naxalites lure the tribals by offering them free karate classes. They give them free weapons training sessions.
As most tribals are poor, they fall prey to these offers, a senior intelligence officer said. The Naxalites are planning to recruit them for their movement. The recent arrest of Viswa alias Viswanathan from Pattiveeranpatti near Dindigul was an eye-opener for the police.
Additional director general of police (law and order) K Vijaykumar, who led Operation Cocoon to kill forest brigand Veerappan, said, We have a separate team in the Special Task Force that conducts raids where Naxalite activity is suspected.
According to intelligence sources, nearly 12 separate groups infiltrated Tamil Nadu and are in the Western Ghats. Each team comprises six men and four women. Four of them are well-versed orators, while the others are weapon handlers.
While the northern border districts of Dharmapuri and Vellore have seen Naxalite activity, Dindigul and Theni are slowly becoming naxalite bases.
The Q branch deputy superintendent of police post has been vacant for the past several months, a senior police officer said, citing this as a reason for the Naxalite activity in the area.