Subramanya (Dakshina Kannada), Sep 4 (DHNS) : The Anti-naxal Force (ANF) has intensified combing operations in the forest areas of Palligadde near Kulkunda, especially near houses which the ultras visited recently.
Around five naxals were seen in the vicinity around 6 pm on Sunday.
There were skirmishes between the extremists and the ANF and the ultras threw a couple of grenades on the forces and escaped into the forest, said IGP of the ANF Alok Kumar.
The ANF also threw a few grenades at the naxals.
Kumar told reporters here on Monday that five teams of 15 members each had been formed for the search operations. He said the ANF had seen three naxals during Monday’s operations.
He said more than 60 rounds of fire were exchanged between the two sides. He said there were no reports of injuries during the skirmishes so far.
The IGP said the combing operations were led by deputy commander S P Vasudev Murthy and that the ANF had used AK-47s and SLRs during the operations.
Kumar said the ultras usually stayed in tents inside the forest for their activities, with each tent housing around eight people.
Kumar said it was important for the people to inform the ANF if they come across naxal activities, so that they could act without causing inconvenience to the residents.
When asked why the local police were not kept informed, he said while it was for the ANF to conduct the operations, collecting information about the ultras and passing it on to the ANF was the job of the police.
Kumar said ANF would conduct constant combing operations in Kulkunda, with one team being stationed permanently in the area.
Members of the intelligence departments of the State and Central governments and officials of the forest and revenue departments visited Palligadde on Monday to conduct inspections.
When people’s representatives visited the place, locals asked them why they did not bother to come earlier, when naxals visited houses in the area. They were taken to over malfunctioning streetlights and bad roads.
Naxal visit, police action faze residents
People in the naxal-infested areas at Palligadde in Kulkunda village are a scared lot.
The rebels visiting their homes in the past two days has frightened them out of their wits.
The subsequent exchange of fire between the ultras and the anti-naxal force has only made things worse. Members of five families in the vicinity have locked up their houses and left for their relatives’ homes.
Gripped by fear psychosis, some of them have been admitted to a hospital. Those affected are five brothers — Belliappa, Hiriyanna, Babu, Monappa and Neelappa Gowda — who reside along with their families in a house near Palligadde in a forest buffer zone. They have, however, not received the extract of the record of tenancy and crops (RTC).
The five families together own only one acre and 15 cents of land, with each having a share of only 23 cents.
Hiriyanna is a driver and the others are daily wage workers. They have no other source of income. Three people belonging to these families are admitted to hospital for treatment. While one had low blood pressure, the other has a heart problem.
Neelappa’s wife Shivamma had lost consciousness when the naxals came calling.
The wives of Hiriyanna and Belliappa have taken refuge in their relatives’ houses following the incident. With the ultras taking away rice from their homes, they are not able to cook food or feed the livestock.
They are not even able to work in the fields for fear of being attacked by the extremists. The children are at their grandparents’ place and are going to their school at Subramanya from there.