Police to deploy drones, helicopters to track Maoists who visited Kambamala

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A helicopter, to be flown to Kambamala for surveillance operations, landing at Mananthavadi, Wayanad on Monday. Photo: Special arrangement

Wayanad: The Kerala Police have opted for aerial patrolling to track human movements in the Kannavam-Kambamala-Brahmagiri forest region following the sighting of Maoist cadres at a Tea Plantation at Kambamala in Wayanad.

The district police have tried drone-based surveillance for the past few days and plan to deploy helicopters as well. Their idea is to pass information of Maoist movement to onfield commandos, who have been combing the jungles.
Wayanad District Police Chief, Padam Singh said ground-level combing operations have failed to yield desired results. The state police also plans to launch a joint operation with the force in Tamil nadu and Karnataka.

Meanwhile, a helicopter that reached the Wayanad Engineering College ground by 3.25 pm was flown back to Areekode due to adverse weather.

A team of top cops, including DIG (Special Operations), Putta Vimaladithya, DIG (Kannur Range), Thomson Jose and Superintendent of Police (Special Operations), Shahul Hameed were flown down to Wayanad in the helicopter.
Officials said that if the weather was favourable, the aerial search operations would begin on Tuesday.

Since an attack on the office of Kerala Forest Development Corporation (KFDC) on September 28, the Maoist cadres made several visits to Kambamala. Onmanorama.com reported the activities of a five-member group in Kambamala, including destroying surveillance cameras and allegedly manhandling a worker.

In protest, the workers of the plantation staged a strike on October 5, demanding protection from the Maoist threat.

The other day, ADGP North Zone MR Ajithkumar visited Kambamala and held discussions with special branch sleuths, plantation workers and top cops in the district.

The anti-Maoist Thunderbolt commandos are still camping in Thalappuzha and launch regular combing operations in the forest region. Police have also deployed additional patrolling teams in the Kambamala as the plantation management demanded protection to workers during night.

Thunderbolt commandos are an elite force under the 'India Reserve Battalion' set up on the instructions of the union government after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

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