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Joint forces wrest control of Ramgarh

Raktima Bose

Heavy gun battle with Maoists on tenth day of operation

— Photo: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury

MARCHING AHEAD: Security forces comb the Ramgarh forest en route to Lalgarh from Goaltore in West Medinipur district of West Bengal on Saturday.

RAMGARH (WEST MEDINIPUR): Amid heavy gun battle, the Central paramilitary forces and the West Bengal police on Saturday took control of the Maoist-dominated Ramgarh, 7 km from Lalgarh. The forces recaptured Lalgarh a week ago.

This victory for the joint forces, 10 days into the operation against the Maoists and the Maoist-backed Police Santrash Birodhi Janashadharaner Committee (PSBJC), will enable the forces to clear the 7-km stretch between Ramgarh and Lalgarh of Maoist domination soon.

Saturday was also marked by violence as armed Maoists stormed and torched an office of the All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) here, barely half hour before the joint forces arrived.

The operation began at 8 a.m. when three companies of the Central Reserve Police Force along with the State police fanned out in several directions within a three-km radius of the road leading to Ramgarh.

IED blast

Soon after the operation began, the Maoists triggered an improvised explosive device at Mahultol village, one km from Kadashol. Another IED was defused by the police.

The heavy exchange of fire between the security forces and the Maoists could be heard from the dense forest nearby. Several rounds of mortar shells were also fired at the Maoists.

“Security personnel retaliated when the Maoists opened fire at Saluka and Napitpara villages near Sijua. Six mortars were also fired at the Maoists,” Siddh Nath Gupta, Deputy Inspector-General (operations), told journalists.

When the joint forces entered Ramgarh at 3 p.m., hundreds of people, gathered along the road, cheered them. Holding a press conference, after the recapture, at the Ramgarh police outpost, which had been destroyed in arson by the Maoists and PSBJC supporters a month ago, Superintendent of Police Manoj Kumar Verma said: “We have come here to restore law and order. We hope to get public support for this purpose. The operation will continue until the situation goes back to normal.”

No arrest was made, nor was anyone injured during Saturday’s operation, he said.

Meanwhile, joint forces personnel came under heavy fire at Amdanga village, two km from Lalgarh.

“The personnel retaliated after the Maoists started firing at them during a routine movement of the forces. The jawans also recovered an IED from the village. None was injured in the incident,” Raj Kanojia, Inspector-General (Law and Order), told The Hindu.

Related stories:
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  • Declaring victory, Maoists begin retreat
  • Lalgarh: is it liberated or ruled by fear?
  • Security forces prepare for a fresh offensive
  • Maoist leader leads PSBJC rally near Lalgarh
  • West Bengal cannot say no to ban on Maoists: Buddhadeb
  • Centre bans CPI (Maoist)
  • Lalgarh: its wait and watch
  • Ready for dialogue if government agrees to some of our demands: Maoists
  • Help resolve Lalgarh crisis-Editorial
  • Trouble in Lalgarh - in pics

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