Wednesday, July 15, 2009

West Bengal, Jharkhand police discuss simultaneous operations

Raktima Bose

Those killed were PSBJC supporters: Chhatradhar

Alleged Maoists trigger landmine blast in an under-construction community hall

KOLKATA: A high-level meeting of senior officials of both the West Bengal and Jharkhand police was held at Purulia town in Purulia district on Tuesday to discuss simultaneous operations against Maoists in both the States.
Speaking to The Hindu, Kuldeep Singh, West Bengal Inspector General of Police (Western Range), said the idea of simultaneous operations in the two States was to flush out the extremists and leave them no escape route.

A meeting held on July 8, which was attended by the Director Generals of both the States’ police, had decided to launch a simultaneous operation in West Bengal and Jharkhand against the Maoists.

Suspected Maoists triggered a landmine blast in an under-construction community hall at Beradea, 56 km from Purulia town, early on Tuesday. No injuries were reported though the building was heavily damaged.

The continued presence of Maoists in the Lalgarh region in Paschim Medinipur district — despite the extensive joint operations by security forces since June 18 — was evident when Maoists fired at the police camp at Dharampur, 14 km from Lalgarh, from a nearby forest on Monday night. Police personnel retaliated and a heavy fire-exchange ensued, lasting about an hour.

The extremists later fled the spot and no arrests were made, Manoj Kumar Verma, the district’s Superintendent of Police, told The Hindu over telephone from Midnapur.

The Maoists had taken control of Dharampur on June 15, when they had ransacked the local office of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the house of a prominent local CPI(M) leader. Security forces reclaimed Dharampur on July 1 and set up a base camp there.

The bodies of two persons were recovered from Memul forest, about 20 km from Lalgarh, on Tuesday morning.

The victims — Tarini Deb Singha, a Communist Party of India (Marxist) supporter, and Swapan Deb Singha, a Trinamool Congress supporter — were allegedly abducted from their homes at Madhupur late on Friday night by a group of ten armed miscreants, and were shot dead in the forest.

Chhatradhar Mahato, convener of the Police Santrash Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee (PSBJC), claimed both the slain persons were PSBJC supporters and alleged that CPI(M) cadres had killed them.

Neither group, however, has so far claimed responsibility for the killings, though local people suspect the the Maoists to be behind them.

“We are investigating it. It cannot be clearly said now if the assailants were Maoists or not,” Mr. Verma said.

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