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Crackdown begins to reclaim Lalgarh
Police, CRPF storm past Maoist human wall
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News service

9 cops die in landmine blast

Bhubaneswar: Nine security personnel of Orissa’s anti-Naxal force were on Thursday killed in a landmine explosion triggered by Maoists in Koraput district. The cops, who were from the Orissa Special Strike Force (OSSF), were killed when their jeep was blown up by a landmine detonated by remote control at Jogi Pallur, around 530 km from here, the police said. — PTI

Kolkata, June 18
The West Bengal police and paramilitary forces today jointly launched a massive operation to flush out Red rebels from Lalgarh in West Midnapore district of the state.

Firing teargas shells and wielding batons, the security personnel cracked down on human shields of Maoists, who were armed with lathis, axes, spears, bows and arrows. “The operation was successful as the security forces were able to take control of a part of Lalgarh. We had to halt the operation at around 6 pm due to darkness. It would be re-launched tomorrow morning,” said DIG of Midnapore Range and in charge of the operation, Parveen Kumar, while talking to The Tribune. He hoped that within two-three hours after the start of the operation on Friday, they would take full control of Lalgarh.

Giving details of today’s operation, Kumar said armed police and CRPF personnel drove in four trucks into the restive area through Pirakota, the only road link not disrupted. “At several places the roads had been dug up and big trees were felled to obstruct the movement of the forces,” he added. Human chains were also formed by tribals at several points and at least at two places the cops had to fire several rounds of teargas shells on the rebels, who hurled stones and arrows on them. The Maoists also fired at the police personnel, but there was no report of any casualty.

The operation began at around 4 pm. However, the vehicles, in which the police personnel and the CRPF jawans were travelling, had to stop at Malida as around 2,000 tribals, armed with bows and arrows, lathis, shovels and axes, formed a human barricade. They were shouting slogans against Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhttacharjee and the CPM.

The police first told the mob to lift the blockade, but seeing no response they tried to march forward. At this, the tribals attacked the security personnel with bombs and brickbats. The cops responded with lathi charge and teargas shells. Similarly, in Bhinpur, around 12 kms from Lalgarh, cops were attacked and had to resort to lathi charge to disperse the mob.

Over 2,000 persons, including seven Maoists activists, have been arrested. Two LMGs, five pipeguns and several rounds of bullets and some country-made firearms have been recovered from their possession.

Police said the security personnel would have to face nearly 100 blockades en route to Lalgarh police station area, which has been taken over by the tribals. A tribal injured in the police action was arrested and taken to a police camp.

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