The four-day joint anti-Maoist operation in the border areas of Jharkhand’s East Singhbhum and West Singhbhum districts, West Bengal’s West Midnapore and Purulia and Orissa’s Mayurbhanj was almost over on Thursday after the forces located and demolished a CPI(Maoist) training camp in a hilly area near Belpahari in Bengal.
The mission was also said to have accomplished its initial objective of removing the bottlenecks on the borders during such multi-state operations. Besides, it established better coordination among various forces such as the Combat Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA), Specially Trained Armed Companies (STRACO), Jharkhand Jaguars, CRPF and state police personnel.
“The first phase is over but this will be a sustained and intense operation. Complete area domination along the Jharkhand-Bengal border and making the forces familiar with the terrains has been a major achievement though there have been other benefits as well. Encounters and direct confrontations would be there today or tomorrow,” Bengal’s ID (West) Zulfiquar Hassan told Hindustan Times on Thursday evening.
And though none of the top officials from Bengal or Bihar admitted that the offensive would be part of Operation Green Hunt, they do seem to have been a precursor. This is so in view of the huge buildup of forces and carefully chosen timing of the season when trees shed their dry leaves and occasional seasonal forest fires partly remove the thick natural cover the rebels normally hide behind.
West Midnapore SP Manoj Kumar Verma also confirmed the demolition of a Maoist training camp near Belpahari and said the operation helped them collect crucial information.