Operations against Maoists continue for fifth day

June 22nd, 2009 - 3:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Ram Vilas Paswan Lalgarh (West Bengal), June 22 (IANS) After reclaiming Lalgarh town in West Bengal, security forces continued their operation for the fifth day Monday marching into nearby villages to clear the area of Maoists, a police official said.
A rebel leader was also arrested for his alleged role in the murder of a Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) activist.

“The operations are on. There has been no major incident so far,” Inspector General of state police Raj Kanojia told IANS in state capital Kolkata. Lalgarh is 200 km from Kolkata.

The central and state security forces set out for Ramgarh, 22 km from this block headquarters.

The rebels had torched the Ramgarh outpost earlier this month forcing the state police to retreat from the area.

An official said that a security force patrol found a wire and other materials which could be used in planting landmine on the roadside merely 500 metres from West Midnapore district’s Lalgarh police station Monday morning.

“It seems the rebels wanted to blast a culvert there. We have intensified search for landmines and bombs on the entire Lalgarh-Ramgarh route. Our move to reclaim Ramgarh is now on a limited scale. Full scale movement will begin only after we sanitise the entire stretch,” said a senior police officer.

A Maoist leader Raju Bauri was arrested from Rajnagar in Birbhum district early Monday.

“We were looking for him as he is involved in the killing of a local CPI-M leader,” said a police source.

Meanwhile, Trinamool Congress chief and Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee Sunday night asked the central government to declare three Maoist affected districts - West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia - as disturbed area.

Speaking at a party programme here, Banerjee said opposition parties and the masses did not have faith in the state’s Left Front government. “The Disturbed Area Act must be promulgated in the three districts.”

The security forces Sunday arrested seven Maoists from West Midnapore and Bankuara districts.

While four rebels were arrested for allegedly trying to plant a landmine at Khayerpahari in Bankura district, three others were taken into custody by the forces at Chakadoba village under Belpahari police station of West Midnapore district after sporadic clashes since Saturday.

Lalgarh has been on the boil since last November when a landmine exploded on the route of the convoy of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and then central ministers Ram Vilas Paswan and Jitin Prasada.

Complaining of police atrocities after the blast, angry tribals backed by Maoists launched an agitation virtually cutting off the area from the rest of the district.

In recent days, the agitators have torched CPI-M offices, driven away the ruling party’s supporters and forced the police to leave, thereby establishing a virtual free zone.

The rebels also backed the Trinamool Congress-sponsored movement against the state government’s bid to establish a chemical hub at Nandigram in East Midnapore district.

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