Using helicopter surveillance and marking from two flanks, security forces on Monday reclaimed the remaining Maoist den of Kantapahari and entered the headquarters of the agitating tribals on the 12th day of the operation launched to flush out the rebels from in and around this area of West Midnapore district.
While one group of central and state armed forces moved from Lalgarh in the south and retook Kantapahari, the other teams of troopers moved from Ramgarh in the north to march into Barapeli village - the hub of the People's Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) which had virtually made Lalgarh a free zone for the last seven months by torching police camps and driving out the civil administration.
"The Maoists failed to put up any resistance on Monday. The two security teams later met at Kantapahari and established a base camp," said Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Raj Kanojia.
The entire leadership of the PCAPA, including its supremo Chhatradhar Mahato, have gone underground and police have launched a manhunt to track them down.
The security forces have now re-established the writ of the state in an arc surrounding Lalgarh to complete the first phase of the operations launched June 18.
The PCAPA and the Maoists had since last November established virtual control over 42 villages in Lalgarh and surrounding areas where hundreds of Maoist extremists had virtually taken over the role of the state administration.
Lalgarh has been on the boil since November when a landmine exploded on the route of the convoy of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and then central ministers Ram Vilas Paswan and Jitin Prasada.
Complaining of police atrocities after the blast, angry tribals backed by Maoists launched an agitation, virtually cutting off the area from the rest of West Midnapore district.
Maoists are active in areas under 21 police stations in the state's three western districts - West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia.