Kerala police have intensified search operations in the forests bordering Kerala following an intelligence report that 57 armed Maoists, including 23 women, are operating in the state. Most of the ultra leaders were announced wanted by  Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh governments. 

Three Maoists leaders were killed during a fight with the police in the forest regions of Nilambur, Kerala on Thursday. 

Also read: Three Maoists, including top woman leader, killed in police firing in Kerala

Armed Maoists were sighted for the first time in Kerala in February 2013. 

Intelligence agencies had informed Kerala police in December 2014 that as many as 57 ultra leaders have found a safe haven in the forests bordering Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka considering the possibility of crossing border to escape when the police force of a particular state launch crackdown. 

The report came out with the photos of the most wanted leaders of the outfit following which state police have intensified search operations in the border districts of Wayanad, Kannur and Kozhikode.

Tribals and local people had spotted 11 ultra leaders in combat gear in Kozhikode forest range while state intelligence agencies confirmed that several other leaders visited Kerala multiple times. State police took the warning seriously after Maoists barged into the house of a police constable at Wayanad and torched his motorbike in April 2015. 

Mahesh, Vikram Gowda, Raveendra, Suresh, Suvarna, Latha, Geetha Umesh and Mallika are suspected to be the most active ultra leaders in Kerala. Police engaged in a gun battle with the Maoists in September when a seven-member gang including five women entered a tribal colony in Nilambur. 

Read more: Police, Maoists engage in gun battle in Nilambur

State intelligence assumes that over 165 Maoists are camping in the forests of Malappuram and Wayanad and is carrying explosives and firearms including AK47.