Kumram Bheem Asifabad: The calm dry deciduous forests of the district attract tigers of neighbouring Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh due to rich prey base and drinking water sources in the form of natural springs. Certain parts of this vast region earned popularity by becoming the most favourite shelter for Maoists due to their hostile geographic conditions for armed forces of Police Department since 1980s.
The district’s forests contain many secret locations where the extremists used to take shelter and dump their ammunition and hide cash for future needs as well. Some of them include Kadamba in Kagaznagar mandal, Shivapalli in Chintalamanepalli, Cheelapalli in Sirpur (T), Agarguda in Penchikalpet, Lovva in Dahegaon, Jodeghat in Kerameri and Mangi in Tiryani. Except for Mangi forests, the rest are no more zones of naxals, who vanished in the last two decades.
Mangi, a hilly forest terrain in Tiryani mandal, has been a safe haven for various squads locally known as ‘dalams’ of the banned outfit for four decades. This inhospitable domain continues to be a much preferred destination of the extremists. It drew headlines again when five members of a band of red brigade, led by Mailarepu Adellu alias Bhaskar, had a close shave with police parties recently.
Caves turn hideouts
The terrain used to be a safe home for the red brigade till 2010. It is inaccessible to parties of Greyhounds and forces of elite commando even as the district’s communication system has undergone a revolutionary change over a period of time. Maoists turn invincible once they reach this region. They become indomitable here when compared to any other havens.
The Maoists invariably enjoy hospitality of tribals dwelling in the valleys. They rely upon the ethnic tribes for food and shelter on some occasions. They are helped by some Adivasis in avoiding confrontation with the armed forces. They can effortlessly disappear in the woods and cannot be traced by policemen.
In the latest instance, the head of Thokkuguda in Tiryani mandal was arrested for allegedly supplying food and providing shelter to the extremists and for helping them escape from being arrested. The naxals managed to vanish in the dark within no time. They still remain untraceable.
As many as 25 special police parties, including Greyhounds, have been formed for tracking down the ultras. In addition, 15 parties are carrying out vehicle checks in urban parts and 25 parties are patrolling rural parts and keeping vigil on movement of strangers. About 500 personnel have been deployed to nab the extremists.
Director General of Police M Mahender Reddy, who reviewed anti-extremists operations in Kumram Bheem Asifabad district headquarters on Friday, exuded confidence that they would be able to achieve a ‘positive result’ in their daunting mission. It has to be seen whether the security forces get a breakthrough or not in their mission to trace Maoists in their bastion, Mangi forests