Maoists' campaign against elections: Thunderbolt launches combing operation in Wayanad

4-member Maoist group entered the workers' habitats, chanting slogans and delivering speeches denouncing the election process. Photo: Special arrangment

Wayanad: Thunderbolt commandos have initiated combing operations in the jungle zones of Kambamala following reports of gun-wielding cadres from the banned CPI (Maoist) attempting to disrupt the election process among plantation workers.

On Wednesday, at around 6 am, a 4-member Maoist group entered the workers' habitats, chanting slogans and delivering speeches denouncing the election process. They asserted that decades of democracy had failed to bring about significant change in people's lives and advocated armed uprisings as the only viable solution. This rhetoric led to a confrontation between the Maoists and local residents. As protests from the locals intensified, the Maoists retreated to the jungle via the Makkimala plantation zone, residents said.

Footage from a mobile camera video, captured by a local youth, revealed four Maoist cadres, two of whom were armed. They were identified as CP Moideen, Santhosh, Soman, and Ashique, also known as Manoj. All four cadres are natives of Kerala, as confirmed by the police. Among the cadres is Soman, also known as Akbar, aged 41, a former journalist from Kalpetta, Wayanad.

It should be noted that police had seized AK-47 assault rifles and INSAS (Indian Small Arms System) light machine guns while apprehending two Maoist cadres, Chandru and Unnimaya, following a police-Maoist encounter at Chapparam tribal village in the region in November of last year.

Subsequently, Maoist activities have been subdued due to repeated setbacks. Another suspected Maoist cadre, Suresh, who was severely injured in an alleged elephant attack, was abandoned by fellow cadres in a human settlement in the Chittari tribal hamlet, Kanjirakolly, Payyavoor, in the Kannur district of Kerala, recently. Suresh later expressed his willingness to surrender in accordance with the state government's surrender scheme.

Additionally, another cadre named Kavitha, who sustained serious injuries in the Aayyakunnu encounter in Kannur district, reportedly succumbed to her injuries later.

Kabani Dalam and Banasura Dalam are the two armed Maoist commando groups (Dalams) operating in the Wayanad jungles of the Western Ghats region. According to police records, there were 18 cadres previously. However, with the arrest of three cadres and the reported death of Kavitha, the number has now dwindled to 14.

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