Two months after the West Bengal government launched a massive operation against the Maoist guerrillas at Lalgarh in West Midnapore district, state Home Secretary Ardhendu Sen admitted on Thursday that the operation seemed to have failed.
He said despite all the efforts of the combined state and Central paramilitary forces, comprising elite counter-Maoists forces like Cobra and STRACO, the area wore the look of a “liberated zone” as claimed by the Maoists.
On Thursday, the state government held a high-level meeting of senior bureaucrats and police officials. Sen said CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had conveyed grave concern over the killing of civilians by Maoists.
While a revised and time-bound action plan was drawn up at the meeting, a fresh look at the combat strategy would be given on August 13, Sen said.
Sen, however, was quick to point out that the first phase of the operation, carried on from June 17 to 22 was hugely successful, with the joint forces driving out several Maoists and recapturing police outposts, which had remained closed
for several months.
During the second phase, launched on June 26, however, the joint forces failed to nab any top-ranking Maoist leader or seize a sizeable cache of weapons, Sen said.
What’s more, even during the operation, Maoist commanders, including Kishanji, second in command of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), gave regular telephonic interviews to TV channels and newspapers.