To the relief of residents, security forces took control of the Maoist stronghold of Ramgarh in Bengal’s West Midnapore district, about 250 km southwest of Kolkata, on Saturday.
With this, the entire Lagarh area, which was in the Maoists’ grip for the past eight months, has come under state control.
The forces claimed Ramgarh in the face of heavy firing by Maoist rebels and without any bloodshed or casualty.
Joint forces led by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) proceeded through the jungles and farmlands, firing mortars to clear the resistance put up by the Maoists.
Outnumbered and outmanoeuvred, the extremists fled into the jungles, about 75 km from the Jharkhand border.
Ram Das, a sadhu at Ramgarh Gopal Ashram, said Maoists came to the ashram while retreating and asked them to open the doors. “There were about 30 men with guns. We didn’t open the door fearing they might take us hostage. Now the police are here, we feel safe again,” said Das.
Much like Friday, villagers came out of their houses in large numbers to greet the jawans with water and sweets after they’d secured Ramgarh.
Siddhi Nath Gupta, DIG (CID) and chief of the Special Operations Group, said: “The operations will continue and we hope the people will cooperate with us to restore normalcy in the area.”