iconimg Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Debdutta Ghosh and Snigdhendu Bhattacharya, Hindustan Times
Silda/Kharagpur, February 18, 2010
If inconvenient location and lack of battle preparedness resulted in the killing of 24 Eastern Frontier Rifles personnel at Silda on Monday, there are at least seven more camps in the Maoist-hit area waiting to be overrun. On Monday, around 80 Maoist guerrillas attacked West Midna-pore’s Silda camp, about 170 km west of Kolkata, indulging in reckless killing and loot.

Director General of West Bengal Police Bhupinder Singh admitted the camp could not retaliate, as it was in the middle of a thickly populated area.

On Wednesday, HT took a tour of the troubled zone across three districts — West Midnap-ore, Bankura, Purulia — to find out the state of the other camps.

There are four camps in West Midnapore — Satpati, Moupal, Kantapahari and Ramgarh — that are located within striking distance from the roads. In adjacent Bankura, there are two — Raspal and Jhilimili — that are dangerously close to populated areas.

But the Bakshi camp takes the cake. The camp is right in the heart of the village. The jawans, however, have stopped being friendly to villagers and hoot away whoever comes close.

Although bunkers have been built in the camp with sand bags — as was done at Silda too — sentries do not have the advantage of a clear view of the area because of big trees all around the bunkers.

“We here are in constant fear after the (Silda) incident,” said an EFR jawan at the camp, who refused to be named.