Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Combing operations going on in 22 Lalgarh villages

Kantapahari (WB):

Security forces worked to further consolidate their grip over Maoist-held areas in West Mindapore district and launched combing operations in 22 villages of Lalgarh.

With Kantapahari recaptured, all borders of Lalgarh had been sealed, a senior police officer said.

"Now we want to ensure that the extremists do not come back to the area. We are consolidating the position we have gained so far," said one police officer.

He said the Maoists might have left West Midnapore district and retreated into neighbouring Jharkhand after Kantapahari, the ultras' last stronghold in Lalgarh, fell to security forces on Monday.

As the operations against the Maoists entered the 13th day, central forces and police are now engaged in sanitising all 22 villages of Lalgah.

On Monday, the forces searched Baropelia, Chotopelia, Dalilpur chowk and other villages for suspected Maoists and possible arms and ammunition.

The police suspect that Maoists may still be present in some pockets like Sejua, Koima and Kalimuri. At Salgora village in the Sejua area, the forces recovered ammunition and also detained three suspected Maoists.

A PTI correspondent went through 12 villages on and found there were hardly any people left except some old and infirm persons.

Starting their operation on June 18, the security forces have gained control over Pirakata, Bhimpur, Lalgarh, Ramgarh and Kantapahari.

A task force comprising eight secretaries is scheduled to arrive today in Lalgarh to oversee development work in tribal areas and help the government prepare an economic development package for them.

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