Monday, April 12, 2010

Jangalmahal areas come under police scanner

Raktima Bose

Kolkata: Fearing that Maoists could spread their influence to the peripheral areas of Jangalmahal (the forest areas in south-western West Bengal) as a part of their new strategy of waging urban warfare, several additional police station areas in the State's Paschim Medinipur district have been put on high alert. Additional forces are being deployed in certain vulnerable pockets.

According to police sources, the step has been taken as an emergency measure after it was noticed that four police station areas in the district, which earlier did not have Maoist presence, have registered a sudden surge of left-wing activities since October.

With this, the total number of police stations facing the Maoist menace in the district has risen to 12.

“Non-naxal areas in the district not paid attention, primarily due to a shortage of security forces, have been brought under the scanner recently. High alert has been sounded in areas like Keshiary and parts of Kharagpur which constitute the fringes of Jangalmahal,” a senior district police official told The Hindu on Monday. He added that the entire Maoist-affected belt in the State as well as the neighbouring States of Orissa and Jharkhand have been put on high alert as recent intelligence inputs have warned of Dantewada-style attacks soon.

“In the last 15 days, security forces have arrested an entire Maoist squad during operations, along with a substantial number of firearms and ammunitions. Subsequent interrogation of the eight arrested has also thrown up the fact that the Maoists in the region are regrouping and planning some big strikes soon,” he said.

A statement issued by Maoists last Saturday had also warned of Dantewada-style killings in the State unless ‘Operation Green Hunt' was suspended.

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