Lalgarh operation: Security forces capture Dharampur


Lalgarh (West Bengal) : Security forces Wednesday established the writ of the state in Dharampur, a former communist hub that was later taken over by the armed Maoists, two weeks into the operation launched to flush out the extremist guerrillas from around this area of West Bengal.

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Moving from two opposite directions and carrying sophisticated weapons, including landmine protected vehicles, the joint forces of the central paramilitary troopers and state armed police established a base camp in Dharampur, where the Maoist rebels had torched offices and houses of communist leaders and killed four of them June 15.

On reaching Dharampur, 12 km from here, Deputy Inspector General of police Praveen Kumar told the media that the forces’ first aim was to restore the law and order in the region, a part of West Midnapore district.

“We will also look into the cases of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leaders who were killed in this area and their bodies burnt and buried,” Kumar said.

Police have already started fanning out in the villages neighbouring Dharampur to search for Maoist rebels, landmines and arms. The forces also found a landmine at Khyerpahari in neighbouring Bankura district.

The state government has also dispatched a team of six senior bureaucrats to initiate development work in the belt.

The huge security operation in areas in and around this enclave was launched by the state government June 18, after the rebels had virtually made it a “free zone” for the last seven months alongside their associates People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) by torching police camps and driving out the civil administration.

Lalgarh has been on the boil since November when a landmine exploded on the route of the convoy of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and then central ministers Ram Vilas Paswan and Jitin Prasada.

Complaining of police atrocities after the blast, angry tribals backed by Maoists launched an agitation, virtually cutting off the area from the rest of West Midnapore district.

Maoists are active in areas under 21 police stations in the state’s three western districts – West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia.