Saturday, June 20, 2009

Naxals trigger twin blasts, force cops to redraw plan

20 Jun 2009, 0512 hrs IST, Caesar Mondal & Jayanta Gupta, TNN




LALGARH: The battle that everyone expected since the beginning of Lalgarh operation erupted just as the sun was setting on Friday. Maoists fired on
central forces in Kuldiha — one of the areas cleared by police the previous day.

Two hours later, an IED blast hit the Domkal SDPO's car in Pirakata, critically injuring three policemen. A culvert was blown up in Nimtala. And around 9pm, gunfire was heard near Lalgarh police station. The Maoists have drawn first blood.

What surprised police was that all the attacks occurred in areas that security forces had swept through on Thursday. It was a classic case of an attacking army moving faster than the generals expected. The forces covered 12 km on day 1, but found their lines stretched thin. No force was deployed in the 7-km stretch between Pirakata and Pirakhali, which had been taken over by security forces on Thursday.

With the twin attacks, the Maoists have forced police to redraw the battle plan, commit forces to new areas and redeploy units. The guerrillas now aim to cut off forces advancing from Pirakata from those stationed at Bhimpur. Roads have been dug up at various points, blocked with trees and even mines are believed to have been laid.

Another contingent of central forces has started moving from the Sarenga end (a forest area between Goaltore and Ranibandh) towards the West Midnapore border. This road leads to Lalgarh and is diagonally opposite the one from Pirakata along which another contingent is moving towards Lalgarh. After Thursday's rapid-march operation, security forces seemed to hold back a little on Friday. They started advancing from Pirrakhali at 6am. After marching for about an hour, they came to a halt at Bhimpur. Minesweepers and detectors were used to locate explosives. But the operation was suddenly suspended and the forces moved into Bhimpur High School where they stayed put for the next six hours.

No comments: