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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Dec 2014

Mamata-Maoist honeymoon over

Ravik Bhattacharya, Hindustan Times  Kolkata, September 27, 2011
First Published: 18:56 IST(27/9/2011) | Last Updated: 19:02 IST(27/9/2011)

The honeymoon between Mamata and the Maoists seems to be getting over fast. The West Bengal government has prepared the blueprint for a full-scale offensive against the Maoists led by the elite Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) that are being brought back to the rebel-dominated forest areas in the west of the state.

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The government also is in process of lifting the unwritten restrictions on CRPF, allowing them to use firepower and combing operations day and night.
 
On Sunday, chief minister Mamata Banerjee challenged the Maoists after a series of killings including Trinamool Congress party members in Jungalmahal. The change in mood of the government comes even when the six-member interlocutor keeps struggling to bring the rebels to the dialogue table.
 
On Tuesday, a high level meeting was held in West Midnapore, where apart from home secretary G D Gautama, director general of police Naparajoti Mukherjee, CRPF top brass including inspector general CRPF Vivek Sahay was present.

"We would step up the operations which were stalled for months after the Assembly polls. The green signal has come, and the security forces will go all out against the Maoists," said a senior police official present in the meeting.
 
"Details of a full scale operation were discussed in the meeting and CRPF officials highlighted the requirements for the force. The Maoists have successfully regrouped in Jungalmahal for the past few months," the officer added.
 
The state government has already asked the CRPF to initiate the process of getting back the elite CoBRA force that was sent to Jharkhand a few months back. Six companies, around 600 men of the force which operated in the three Maoist affected districts of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia were sent to Jharkhand by CRPF top brass since they were kept unused in Bengal. Since 2009 the force used to operate in Bengal.
 
"They are a highly trained commando force meant for specific operations inside the jungles. They cannot be kept idle. Since in Bengal the joint operations were suspended, they were sent to Jharkhand where operations are on. Now they are coming back once again to lead operations here," said a state police officer.

Operations were suspended since the new government came to power and curbs were put on central forces as the chief minister proposed peace talks with the rebels.
 
A plan has also been made to relocate camps of the both the state and the central forces, which will now be house in interior areas of Jungalmahal. Officials stated that since new areas have come under Maoist control of late, camps would be placed at strategic places.

The state and the central forces also plan for co-ordinated efforts against the armed rebels, with CoBRA forces who can strike at particular targets avoiding collateral damage.
 
The joint forces will also resume raids not only during the day but also at night, which was discontinued since May, 2011. The CRPF officers would initiate night patrol and will have to be allowed to their full fire power, apart from matching state force (as in Standard Operation Protocol), sources said.

Both the state forces and the CRPF are now gathering intelligence reports of possible hideouts and locations of the Maoists groups in Jungalmahal, including their senior leaders and groups from Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Orissa who have taken shelter here.


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