The real battle for Lalgarh in West Midnapore between the Maoists and security forces is yet to begin. Friday’s action drama was only a trailer.
A state government official, who refused to be identified, told HT the administration and security forces had already chalked out a plan to take on the Maoists and block all escape routes from Lalgarh, about 250 km southwest of Kolkata.
The COBRA (Combat Battalion for Resolute Action) and Greyhounds, a specialised anti-Maoist force raised in Andhra Pradesh, will carry out the final assault deep inside the 1,000-sq-km Maoist ‘liberated zone’ in Lalgarh.
The state government, which asked for six more companies of central forces on Friday, however, did not disclose that Greyhound personnel had already reached Lalgarh.
About 100 COBRA men will be airdropped on a field adjacent to Lalgarh police station at least 24 hours before the real operation, while another COBRA contingent is already headed there from Midnapore.
Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) men and state police will assist the COBRA force in removing barricades and human shields en route.
Another company of CRPF men reached Lalgarh police station on Thursday to assist the COBRA and Greyhound forces. But state home department and top police officials know they’ll face the real resistance in a 15-km-long stretch between Lalgarh and Ramgarh towards farther west.
The authorities have decided to use the COBRA force, which comprises men with special jungle warfare training, to flush out Maoists from this particular zone.
The state police, Kolkata Police commandos and CRPF will assist the COBRA. It has also been planned to surround Lalgarh and confine the Maoists to the Lalgarh-Ramgarh stretch, denying them reinforcements.
Another team, mainly Border Security Force men, will stop Maoists from crossing the Kangshabati river to enter Belpahari in Bankura district. Besides, the Lalgarh-Midnapore route through Pirakata, 12 km from Lalgarh, will be cut off midway at Goaltore.