Security forces on Saturday captured key Maoist stronghold of Ramgarh as they launched a two-pronged attack to reclaim areas in West Midnapore district under control of Left-wing ultras who offered stiff resistance by detonating landmines and opening gunfire.
Maoists also torched an office of the Leftist trade union All India Trade Union Congress when they were refused sanctuary in the building shortly before the security forces entered Ramgarh.
Security forces headed from Lalgarh in the south and Kadasole, which was secured on Friday, in the north towards Ramgarh on Saturday morning, a senior Central Reserve Police Force officer said.
"We have secured Ramgarh. We will establish a police outpost and a camp. The police will restore normalcy. The operations will continue," Inspector General Crime Investigation Department (Special Operations Group) Siddhinath Gupta said.
Three landmines exploded as 10 companies comprising 1000 men of the CRPF, the India Reserve Battalion and Rapid Action Force set out from Kadasole, braving heavy rains and reached Mohultol, with the Maoists also firing at them.
The security forces retaliated with AK-47s, mortars and rocket propelled grenade launchers overcoming the resistance swiftly, the officer said.
In the south, 11 CRPF companies comprising 1,100 men reached Boropelia village, the home of the agitating People's Committee Against Police Atrocities leader Chhatradhar Mahato.
They were attacked by Maoists at Pathardanga where two landmines were detected. But the Naxals retreated after retaliatory action.