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Security forces liberate 22 villages in Lalgarh

June 22, 2009 17:08 IST
Security forces conducting the operation to liberate Lalgarh have cleared 22 of 42 villages in the area of Maoist-backed tribal agitators and were further consolidating their positions, officials said on Monday.

The troops comprising the Central Reserve Police Force, the Border Security Force, State Armed Police and the Eastern Frontier Rifles men were in full control of the national highway connecting the district headquarters with Lalgarh, a senior police officer said.

"Twenty two of the 42 villages under the jurisdiction of the Lalgarh police station have been cleared off agitators," he said.

The police station, which remained out of bounds since November, was retaken on June 19. All vehicles were being searched and people frisked. Two forested areas on the highway connecting Midnapore and Lalgarh -- Pirakata and Jhitka -- were sanitised.

Pickets of security forces have been set up all along the highway, which was also being patrolled, he said.

The forces, which had launched the operation against the Maoists on June 18, were yet to move out of Lalgarh, he said.

The security forces were camping in strength at Lalgarh police station and nearby Bhimpur as also in various other places, the officer said.

The next area of operation could be Ramgarh, where the tribals under the People's Committee Against Police Atrocities have felled trees and dug up roads, he said.

Meanwhile, the administration on Monday gave 6 kg of rice to each person who had fled after the security forces launched operations to flush out Naxals from the area.

The rice was being given at the Block Development Officer's office in Lalgarh, official sources said.

Officials said that besides rice, provisions were being made for providing hot meals of khichri to the displaced people.

Most of the people who had fled were living in jungles, while around 900 were housed in relief camps opened on Sunday by the Trinamool Congress.

Amitava Roy in Lalgarh
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