Nellore, September 12: For long, mandals on the border as well as forest areas in Nellore district used to be a shelter or safety zone for Maoists. But the CPI (Maoist) seems to have kept as many sleeper cells as possible in place to carry out attacks at a designated time and place.
Police suspect that the CPI (Maoist) may have either roped in senior members or trained the sleeper cells who are loosely organised and can mix easily among the public through different modes to carry out attacks.
As a result, they made an abortive attempt recently to kill former Chief Minister and Visakhapatnam MP N. Janardhana Reddy through a landmine attack.
After sensing that their action zone had started being squeezed out of the Nallamala forest area stretching across parts of Guntur, Prakasam, Kurnool and Nalgonda districts as well as some parts of the Telangana region with the police curtailing their presence to a large extent by making inroads into naxal strongholds, they reportedly took shelter in many boarder mandals. Besides, they chose some hideouts in some educational institutes at Vidyanagar and Kavali as well as at Busanaidupet fort in Siddeswaram forest area of Sitarampuram mandal.
However, some of them, especially the key members of the CPI (Maoist), were forced to leave the forest areas of Rapur, Sitarampuram, Duttalur, Varikuntapadu, Udayagiri, Dakkili, Venkatagiri and other border mandals after the sensational weapon seizure case. and the subsequent police encounters.
The police then realised that the CPI (Maoist) had made the best use of the district's road and rail and connectivity, particularly National Highway (NH-5), for transporting arms and ammunition from Tamil Nadu by cargo movers to Prakasam, Mahabubnagar and other districts.
But the Maoists, after keeping mum for several months, reportedly activated sleeper cells in the district with the help of sympathisers, particularly students of some educational institutions, including an engineering college, with a view to launching attacks.