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The rise of naxalism in Kodagu: Time for a crackdown on the southern corridor

By Vicky Nanjappa
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    It is a well known fact that naxalites are soon losing ground in their strongholds. As they try to recover with foreign funds and their friends in the cities, a worrying development has been reported.

    The rise of naxalism in Kodagu: Time for a crackdown on the southern corridor

    A team of naxalites were recently spotted in Kodagu, Karnataka, which has led the security agencies to launch a major combing drive. The incident was reported by some villagers who told the police about the team of 15 naxalites who had barged into their homes and threatened them by showing them guns. They had also demanded that they be given food.

    The Kodagu police says that the naxalites possessed advanced weapons have been roaming around the forests of Kodagu and neighbouring Sullia. The Anti Naxal Force has been carrying out combing operations in the areas of Bhagamandala, Talacauvery forest, Kukkaje and Karike.

    The complainant, A Thomas who runs a rubber estate on contract has told the police that the naxalites which included women too demanded that they be served food. After that they took away the dry tobacco leaves that were kept the house, which was meant to be sold.

    The police say that they suspect that this team of naxalites are from the state itself. They have been moving around these areas and are led by a naxalite who goes by the name Vikram Gowda. The police say that he hails from Udupi and has been opposing the moves to bring the naxalites to the mainstream.

    Several such incidents have been reported. In another incident, the naxalites speaking in Tulu and Kannada had visited another home at the Koyanadu village. They handed out Rs 2,000 and asked the inmates of the house to fetch ration for them. They then told the parents in the house that they would look after their children, while also warning them against informing the police. The police said that after they left this house, they proceeded towards Subramanya.

    These naxalites are part of the southern corridor and are being handled by a team in Kerala, the police say. It was also found that the naxalites from Kerala are urging the tribals in Kodagu to agitate. The region that has been peaceful comprises several tribals. The naxalites are trying to lure them into spreading violence in the region, the police further state.

    The spread:

    Naxal activities spreads across various places in Karnataka. They were found to be active in the Western Ghats, Dakshin Kannada, Shimoga and now Kodagu.

    Sources say that not just locals, but naxalites from Tamil Nadu and Kerala too have taken refuge in Karnataka. A recent finding by the Southern Range Police states that there has been no specific act of violence. However there has been naxal movement and activities reported in these areas.

    The radar is on five persons-three from Hassan, and two from Kodagu. The police say that the naxal from Kodagu has been involved in the supply of arms and there have been occasions when he has supplied the same to his counterparts in Andhra Pradesh too.

    The Karnataka police say that they are taking this issue very seriously. The Karnataka police had several years back managed to successfully curb the naxalite movement in the state. The killing of Saketh Rajan was one step towards that.

    The top brass has given detailed instructions to the police stations of the naxal affected districts on how to handle the menace. Further a criminal intelligence network has also been set up to share information.

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