Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Security forces consolidate grip over naxal-hit West Midnapore

Saibal Gupta/PTI / Kantapahari (west Bengal) June 29, 2009, 13:18 IST

Further consolidating their position in the Maoist-infested areas of West Midnapore district, central forces today stormed Kantapahari, the hub of the naxal-backed tribal agitation.

Completing one third of the operations, 1,600 personnel from the BSF, CRPF and special anti-naxal force CoBRA converged on the hamlet from Lalgarh and Ramgarh which were captured by paramilitary forces after remaining under control of the Maoists for eight months.

A helicopter hovered in the air to spot the Maoists and help the personnel carry out their operation with precision.

DIG CID (Special Operations Group), Siddhinath Gupta said that the forces were now in Kantapahari, where a police camp existed in 2005 before being withdrawn. "A camp will be established here after all these years," he added.

DIG (Midanpore range) Praveen Kumar said the operations had not ended. "Entering Kantapahari was part of it."

A senior police officer, however, added that one third of the operations were complete.

Midnapore district police superintendent Manoj Verma said "There was no police in Kantapahari for the past several months. People have come forward to cooperate. We hope this cooperation will continue. We will establish the rule of law to solve the problem that has been plaguing this area for several months."

Kantapahari, besides the surrounding villages of Boropelia, Chottopelia and Dalilpur Chowk, were the places where the tribals backed by Maoists had launched their agitation in protest against police atrocities in November last year.

Security forces recently reclaimed Lalgarh police station from Maoist control.

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