''Maoists regrouping in West Bengal''

New Delhi, Jul 10: With joint-security operations virtually at a standstill in West Bengal, Maoists have started regrouping and recruiting cadres in the eastern state, intelligence inputs point.

The inputs received by the Home Ministry from three West Bengal districts -- West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia -- have suggested that the Naxals have been able to lure a sizable number of youths and recruit them for armed training.

The recruitment drive and activities of the Maoists have intensified after Mamata Banerjee took charge as the chief minister since her government favoured talks with the ultras and virtually suspended all operations against them.

Besides, the three West Bengal districts have become meeting and shelter points for Naxals operating in neighbouring Orissa, Jharkhand and Bihar, they said.

There have been reports that ''village defence squads'' were being formed by Naxal supporters in many villages and extortion notices reportedly served to many businessmen and CPI(M) sympathisers.

Central security agencies were also worried over the Trinamool Congress government's proposal to release 46 "political prisoners" -- most of whom were Maoists sympathisers -- as it would give more ammunition to the Naxals to regroup and revive snapped contacts, they said.


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