Police personnel in northern Telangana are using drones with sophisticated surveillance cameras to track outlawed Maoists in the forests of Asifabad-Kumaram Bheem district bordering Maharashtra.

About a 400-member strong Greyhound forces, the anti-Maoist wing of the Telangana Police have been combing the forests all along the Pranahita river on the Telangana-Maharashtra border for the last three days, looking for a group of Maoists headed by Mailarapu Bhaskar alias Adellu, the Telangana state committee member in-charge of the Kumaram Bheem-Mancherial squad.

The police force has deployed drones equipped with high-range cameras to track the movement of Maoists in Koutala, Bejjur, Dahegaon, Neelwai and Chennur areas from Pranahitha river to Godavari river.

District in-charge superintendent of police V Satyanarayana told reporters that the police were confident of nabbing the squad, as they had completely sealed the area all along the river so that they do not go back into neighbouring Maharashtra.

“We are using modern technology including drone surveillance to track their movement,” the in-charge SP said after his extensive tour in Maoist-infested villages of Chintala Manepalli block on Monday.

These drone cameras are presently being used by security forces in Chhattisgarh forests to track the movement of Maoists. In Telangana, they have not been used till date, a senior police official familiar with the development said.

The police suspect that Bhaskar had been entrusted with the task of recruiting cadres for the CPI (Maoist) party in the bordering villages so that the party could regain its lost hold in Telangana. The Maoists have called for a week-long celebration of the completion of 16 years of the formation of CPI (Maoist) till this week-end.

In the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday, the police managed to track a Maoist squad in the Kadamba forest range of the district. In exchange of fire with the police, two Maoists were killed. They were later identified as Chukkalu of Chhattisgarh and Jugane Badi Rao from Neradigonda mandal of Adilabad district.

“However, Bhaskar and three others managed to escape from the site of the encounter,” the in-charge SP said.

The police have taken into custody as many as 15 people who were understood to have been recruited by the Maoist party in different parts of Asifabad Kumaram Bheem district like Utnoor, Sirpur (U), Tiryani and Asifabad mandals. They are being questioned to know the whereabouts of Bhaskar and his team members.