Security forces reclaim two more Maoist-infested areas in West Midnapore

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Lalgarh (West Bengal), July 4 (ANI): Security forces and police reclaimed two more areas from Maoists in West Bengal's West Midnapore district on Saturday.

In a four-pronged attack, a team of security forces and police set out from bases in Binpur, Pirakata, Salboni and Ramgarh to converge on Kalimudri and Madhupur villages, West Midnapore Superintendent of Police Manoj Verma told reporters.

The fifth-phase of the operation, entering its 16th day, was to clear the villages and forests by building a protective ring after capturing key locations to prevent movement by Maoists who might still be holed up.

"The forces met with no resistance and flushing out operations were conducted on an eight kilometer stretch," Verma said.

"The operations began at 6:00 a.m. and the forces reached Kalimudri and Madhupur by afternoon," he added.

"We have been unable to enter the area in the last eight months. We are now receiving cooperation from the people," Verma said.

In Kolkata, State Home Secretary Ardhandu Sen said three Maoists, including a woman, were arrested today from Ayodhya Hills in Purulia district from whom explosives, a rifle and Maoist literature were seized.

The security forces, which began the operations in West Midnapore against Maoist-backed tribals on June 19 after demolishing a human shield by tribals at Pirakata, took over Lalgarh police station on June 20, Ramgarh on June 27, Kantapahari on June 29 and Dharampur on July one.

The Maoist-backed tribals, who began their agitation in November last year against 'police atrocities' had taken over the areas after police withdrew from camps fearing that their firearms would be snatched.

The tribals went on the warpath after police raids on their homes following a landmine blast by Maoists on November 2 at Salboni in the district, which Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and two former Union ministers had narrowly escaped. (ANI)

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