Nileswaram: People here were on the edge after reports of sighting a Maoist spread. The police were soon informed and officials launched a probe which proved that the fears were baseless.
Around 7 am on Wednesday, the Vellarikundu police station received a call from a local trader that a 'Maoist' in Army fatigues was noticed at Birikulam Plathadam within Kinanur Karinthalam panchayat. When others saw him, the 'Maoist' escaped into the thick undergrowth in the area, the police were told.
Similar messages were soon received by the district police chief, Special Branch and administration DySPs. The news spread like wildfire and the police were on alert.
A police team headed by Vellarikundu SI P Pramod reached Plathadam and launched a search. The trader who alerted the police was also questioned. The police soon found that a local youth wearing a dress that resembled Army uniform had set out with an air gun to tackle monkeys destroying crops in the area.
The youth was summoned to the police station and interrogated. He told officials that the air gun, which cost Rs 8,000, needed no licence to own and operate. The police inspected the gun as well as the pellets used in it which are priced at Rs 100 a packet.
The youth reportedly told the cops thhat he had bought the gun from Kozhikode to engage in shooting practice. The police also verified his statement that he had registered with the Sports Council.
Meanwhile, the police are investigating whether the man who alerted them regarding the 'Maoist' presence held any grudge against the shooter.