Maoists have apparently been shifting base from their strongholds in Lalgarh and Belpahari in the last two months, with killings and violence increasingly taking place in Jhargram subdivision, 40 km away in restive West Midnapore district.
Police sources attribute this to the strong security presence in Belpahari and Lalgarh. There are seven camps of the joint security forces in Lalgarh and nine in Belpahari while there are only three camps in Jhargram and one in Jamboni.
Quoting statistics, the sources said, that around 50 CPI(M) local leaders and supporters were killed around Jhargram in the last two months, while there was no casualty in Lalgarh, considered a Maoist stronghold and which had been wrested by the joint forces earlier this year.
"As there are many camps of the joint forces in and around Belpahari and Lalgarh, Maoists are not able to operate there and are shifting to areas around Jhargram," a senior police officer said.
Asked why Jhargram, the officer said Jhargram's proximity to Jharkhand was one of the main reasons. "Maoist can slip away into Jharkhand easily after committing a crime and it involves time and legal problems for the West Bengal police to follow them across the border."
However, top maoist leader Kishenji said over phone, "We are not shifting base anywhere. We are always with the people.We will stand by the people anywhere."