A day after a Maoist leader from Jharkhand was arrested from a nearby urban hamlet, Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala said state police will effectively check the movement of reds to "uproot" the outfit from the state.
"We have effectively stopped Maoists from establishing their presence in Kerala's tribal areas. Many top Maoist leaders (from Kerala) have been taken into custody. This is because of a very strong combined action initiated against them by the governments of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh," he told PTI here.
Referring to the arrest of Jitender Oraon, an alleged commander of People's Liberation Army -- the armed wing of the banned Maoists in Jharkhand, Chennithala said "very vigilant state police are trying to uproot" the reds from the state.
Oraon, a native of Latehar district in Jharkhand, was arrested by Ernakulam rural police on Friday. He had been working at an electric wire manufacturing unit near Angamaly for the past three years. Angamaly-Perumbavoor area in Ernakulam district is home to the largest concentration of migrant labourers in the state.
Chennithala said the government has chalked out a two- pronged strategy towards the Maoist menace in Kerala.
"First, flush out Maoists from vulnerable tribal hamlets through effective police action. Secondly, unleash development in the tribal areas. We are implementing both. All those Maoists, who were active in such areas, are now in police custody," he said.
In May this year, Roopesh, a top Maoist leader, wanted in at least 20 cases in Kerala, his wife and three others were arrested from Coimbatore in a "big breakthrough" for police of the southern states.
Chennithala dismissed suggestions that labour camps of inter-state migrant workers have become a safe haven for Maoists, but said all criminal activities within their hamlets would be suppressed forcefully.
"Migrant workers are not Maoists. It is because of them, developmental works are happening in Kerala. That is a good thing. But if there is criminal activities (involving migrant workers), that would be forcefully suppressed," he said.