Fierce gun battles took place on Monday between the Maoists and combined security forces at three places in West Midnapore district, a day after four Eastern Frontier Rifles jawans were gunned down by the extremists at Gidhni bazar in Kolkata [ Images ].
According to state Home Secretary Ardhendu Sen, the encounters continued for three to four hours. Any casualty or the exact places of occurrence of the gunfights were not known.
About Sunday's ambush of the EFR jawans, Sen said there are several police camps in the vast Maoist-hit areas "which are regularly visited by senior officers".
Sen said eight persons were killed in the Maoist belt in the previous days.
Asked if the Maoist influence was on the rise in the areas they were dominating, Sen said, "The situation is changing every moment".
He said 3,500 new constables would be appointed all over the state.
"Forces will be deployed at police stations in the Jangalmahal areas too".
Police deployment will be also made afresh in the civilian areas.
The home secretary admitted that the joint forces were yet to fully bring under control Binpur and Garbeta-II blocks where the Maoists have "greater influence".
Asked to comment on Union Home Secretary G K Pillai's statement that the Maoists were using Chinese arms, Sen said, "We have not found any proof of Chinese arms being used by the Maoists who are found to be handling country-made weapons."
Sen told a questioner that Maoist leader Kishenji was reported to be hiding in Janagalmahal (forested areas) "and five to six top Maoist leaders are with him".He said much more information could be gathered by interrogating arrested tribal leader Chhatradhar Mahato [ Images ].