After reclaiming control of key Lalgarh police station area, security forces on Sunday pushed deeper to break the Maoist siege of 17 villages considered strongholds of the ultras and tribals backed by them.
Security sources said the troops consisting of CRPF, BSF and West Bengal police started moving from Lalgarh to Ramgarh in an operation aimed at sanitising the main road and other connecting routes and wresting control of the 17 villages.
But the 19-km journey from Lalgarh, which the troops reclaimed yesterday, is likely to be one of the toughest as the road has been mined and the area heavily forested.
The strategy of the forces will focus on wresting control of Barapelia, Chotopelia and Dalilpurchak in West Midnapore district where top Maoist leaders were reportedly holed up, senior police officers engaged in the operation said.
Barapelia is the home of Maoist-backed People's Committee against Police Atrocity (PCPA) convener Chatradhar Mahato and the PCPA headquarters.
After a night halt at a school premises in Lalgarh, the joint forces began a mine-clearing exercise on the Lalgarh-Ramgarh road, the sources said.
Security forces had yesterday moved into Lalgarh and taken control of the police station even as ambushed a convoy en route to the area injuring six policemen.