On Wednesday evening, a group of 8 armed Maoists visited Periya village in Idukki to purchase rations and distribute pro-Maoist pamphlets.
A Thalapuzha police official told TNM that of the 8 member group, which included 3 women, 3 members had been identified by police already. While police officers inspected the area soon after the incident, the 8 members had returned to the nearby forest areas, evading capture.
The police official said, â€śThey came to Periya at around 7.40 PM, and bought provisions like rice and coconut oil from local stores. They were speaking Malayalam. They also distributed a few pamphlets amongst the shopkeepers and others. They were armed with guns and knives, but as the local people are not familiar with weaponry, we are not sure exactly what kinds of guns they were carrying.â€ť
He also said that while it is not unknown for Maoists to visit the area, it is difficult to track and trace them, despite a few members of the group being identified, due to their familiarity with local routes.
The pamphlets distributed by the Maoists on Wednesday bore slogans and directions that read â€śfight against Brahmanical Hindutva fascismâ€ť and â€śfight for Maoist Revolutionary alternativeâ€ť. They also distributed copies of Kaattuthee, a printed bulletin by an armed Maoist faction.
On 17 December, Thalapuzha had seen another visit from a 5-member group of Maoists, comprising 4 men and 1 woman, who came into Thalapuzha to protest against inaction in the case of the suicide of a local bank employee. They demanded strict action against former Thavinjal Service Cooperative bank president P Vasu, who had been booked for abetting the suicide of bank staff member PM Anil Kumar. They gathered information about both of the individualsâ€™ residences before leaving the area. Earlier in September, another group of Maoists had visited Government Higher Secondary School in Thalapuzha at night, and distributed pro-Maoist pamphlets to locals.