Lalgarh may have been freed from Maoist control by the security forces, but the Maoists have not yet been completely flushed out of the region.
The security forces limited themselves to the Lalgarh-Goaltor area 100 km west of Kolkata, leaving the adjoining areas like Belpahari, Ranibh, Dalma Hills Boan, where too the Maoists have established bases, untouched.
“The Maoists have all escaped from Lalgarh,” said a senior police officer. “They will wait for an opportunity to strike when they can catch us unawares. Heavily outnumbered in Lalgarh, they decided to retreat, but took care not to lose either ammunition or manpower.”
Not a single important Maoist operating in the Lalgarh area was captured as the security forces advanced. There are eight ‘most wanted’ Maoists here, whose photographs are put up in every police station of the area. Security forces never came anywhere close to any of them. All of them are believed to be hiding in the neighbouring forests or in Singhbhum, across the Jharkh border.
Post Operation Lalgarh, the state government has initiated the preparation of an economic-development package for the poor tribal population has sent a task force comprising eight departmental secretaries to Lalgarh to oversee development work in the tribal areas.
Many believe, much of the real success of Operation Lalgarh would depend on how effectively quickly the government could implement development program for the poor tribal villagers in the area keeping aside politics politicians.