Saturday, June 27, 2009

Forces reclaim Ramgarh

Ambar Mukherjee First Published : 28 Jun 2009 08:41:20 AM ISTLast Updated : 28 Jun 2009 09:09:11 AM IST

KOLKATA: The tenth day of their multipronged operation to regain control of Maoist-held pockets in and around Lalgarh yielded a breakthrough on Saturday when security forces won back Ramgarh from the insurgents.

The rebel stronghold of Ramgarh had of late been under the grip of terror after the Maoists set fire to the local police outpost.

By Saturday evening, security forces set up their base camp in Ramgarh, 22 km from Lalgarh, from where they said they would now continue the flush-out mission.

Earlier in the day, security personnel started their operation from Kadasol.

As they arrived in Moultola forest area, Maoists suddenly attacked the forces by opening indiscriminate fire at them. The men in uniform retaliated, and the gunbattle lasted for almost an hour.

The Maoists later used landmines to prevent the forces from proceeding towards Ramgarh, 200 km from here. In a bid to spread panic among locals, Maoists set fire to a CPI(M) party office in the locality.

It was around 3 pm when the forces arrived in Ramgarh. Official sources said scores of local people came out of their homes and welcomed the security personnel, even offering them water to drink.

IGP (Law and Order) Raj Kanojia said the forces had advanced in a ‘V’ formation — armed police moving in double file on the main road and paramilitary troopers giving them cover by moving through jungles on both sides of the road.

State Home Secretary Ardhendu Sen said no security personnel was injured in the gunbattle.

“They faced massive resistance, but reported no casualty.” The pro-Maoist activists, meanwhile, condemned the “police atrocities”. The rebelsbacked tribal body PCAPA held a meeting at Kantapahari area in the night, expressing solidarity with the “common people and their plight”. PCAPA leader Chhatradhar Mahato said their stir against the security forces would continue.

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