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Attackers from Jharkhand

The Maoist band that raided an Eastern Frontier Rifles camp in West Midnapore’s Silda on Monday evening and killed at least 25 personnel and looted weapons came from Jharkhand, reports B Vijay Murty.

india Updated: Feb 17, 2010 00:15 IST
B Vijay Murty

The Maoist band that raided an Eastern Frontier Rifles camp in West Midnapore’s Silda on Monday evening and killed at least 25 personnel and looted weapons came from Jharkhand.

And the West Bengal police suspect that the rebels went back to their jungle resorts after the 15-minute operation was over.

The Jharkhand border from the carnage spot is seven km away and the nearest Jharkhand town, Chakulia, is barely 10 km from Silda, which is about 170 km west of Kolkata.

“The densely-forested range of hills on the Jharkhand border are their (the Maoists’) safest hideouts,” West Bengal Director General of Police Bhupinder Singh told reporters here.

He said several Maoist rebels had fled to Jharkhand following the West Bengal police and the joint forces’ anti-Maoist actions in th Lalgarh area in the same district, about 160 km west of Kolkata.

Singh, however, said Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal had chalked out anti-Maoist joint operations at the February 9 meeting with Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram in Kolkata.

The meeting also discussed strategies to tackle the Maoists’ inter-state network.

He said, “The Jharkhand police have sought our help in releasing a government officer kidnapped by the Maoists. As far as I know, he is not in our territory. He is possibly on the Orissa side.”

On Saturday, the Maoists kidnapped a block development officer, Prashant Kumar Layak, from his office in Jharkhand’s Dhalbhumgarh block that shares borders with Orissa in the south and West Bengal in the north.

On the timing of the joint operation, Singh said since both the states were starved of forces, they would wait for additional forces from the Centre.