Central paramilitary forces and West Bengal police would continue their joint anti-Maoist operations in West Bengal, with the Centre deciding that 17 companies of its forces would remain positioned in the state.
The decision came after West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday and Home Minister P Chidambaram and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi on Sunday.
At these meetings, Bhattacharjee strongly recommended continuance of the joint operations in his state along with simultaneous action in Jharkhand, saying the West Bengal police would not be able to consolidate the gains made against Maoists in areas like West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura.
"Without simultaneous operations in Jharkhand, it will be difficult for the (Bengal) police to hold on to the gains," the Chief Minister told a press conference here.
He said the security forces would start operations in other parts of the state, especially those bordering Jharkhand, where most of the Maoist infrastructure, training camps and strongholds are located.
Bhattacharjee's meeting came days after the Prime Minister said talks could be held with the Left extremists if they lay down arms. "This has been my consistent position too from the beginning," the Chief Minister said.