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Forces launch combing operation in Maoist strongholds

June 30, 2009 15:41 IST

Security forces on Tuesday worked to further consolidate their grip over Maoist-held areas in West Mindapore district in West Bengal and launched combing operations in 22 villages of Lalgarh. With Kantapahari recaptured, all borders of Lalgarh have been sealed, a senior police officer said.

"Now we want to ensure that the extremists do not come back to the area. We are consolidating the position we have gained so far," the police officer told PTI. He said the Maoists might have left West Midnapore district and retreated into neighbouring Jharkhand after Kantapahari, the ultras' last stronghold in Lalgarh, fell to security forces on Monday.

The central forces and police are now engaged in sanitising all 22 villages of Lalgarh. On Monday, the forces searched Baropelia, Chotopelia, Dalilpur chowk and other villages for suspected Maoists and possible arms and ammunition.

The police suspect that Maoists may still be present in some pockets like Sejua, Koima and Kalimuri. At Salgora village in the Sejua area, the forces recovered ammunition and also detained three suspected Maoists.

After kicking off their operation on June 18, the security forces have gained control over Pirakata, Bhimpur, Lalgarh, Ramgarh and Kantapahari. A task force is scheduled to arrive today in Lalgarh to oversee development work in tribal areas and help the government prepare an economic development package for them.

Saibal Gupta in Kantapahari
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