Alert in Kerala following PWG leader's arrest

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Kochi, Dec 19: Following the arrest of a top leader of the People's War Group (PWG) at Angamaly, near here on Monday night, the Kerala Police is stepping up the survey of migrant labourers into the state, senior officials said.

Malla Raji Reddy, a Central Committee member of the PWG, was arrested alongwith a woman by the Andhra Pradesh police at Angamaly on the basis of an arrest warrant issued by the judicial first class magistrate court at Manthani in AP.

The two were arrested in front of the Little Flower Hospital at Angamaly by the Andhra Pradesh police, who had set a trap for them there. They are expected to be taken back to Andhra Pradesh shortly, police said. Following the arrest, the Kerala Police has intensified its survey of the large floating population of migrant labourers, who are brought to work on construction sites and quarries from the neighbouring states, Inspector General of Police, Ernakulam, Vinson Paul told the sources here today.

With daily wages ranging from Rs 300 to Rs 350 in Kerala, a large number of workers from West Bengal, Bihar and Assam, besides Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, have been coming into the state, which faces an acute shortage of labourers.

''We have already been surveying the migrant population in connection with incidents of thefts. Following the arrest of the PWG leader, we are going to conduct a very extensive survey of labourers to see if anyone has been actively giving harbour to extremist elements,'' Mr Paul said.

Circle Inspector, Angamaly, Soni Oommen Koshy, in whose range the PWG leader was nabbed, said that quarry contractors had been told to furnish photographs of migrant labourers to the local police stations.

''We are taking this development very seriously and will step up our survey of migrant labourers,'' he added. Growing naxalite activities in different states are a matter of concern for both the Central and state governments and a high-level meeting convened by the Prime Minister in New Delhi tomorrow is slated to address this issue, police officials said.


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