Maoists engage jawans in gun battle

Maoists engage jawans in gun battle


The latest offensive comes close on the heels of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacherjee’s announcement that the state government will not toe the Centre’s “Operation Green Hunt” policy and follow an independent “Bengal Line” to tackle the rebels.

Although there has been no report of any casualty, the jawans have consolidated their positions around the forest and been preparing for a long haul there.

Reports said the troopers had been out on a routine patrol in the morning from their camp at Chandra in West Midnapore  district and were preparing to scout the jungle, when they were suddenly fired upon. “Jawans took up positions and retaliated immediately. But the rebels kept on charging from their hideouts in the jungle and the gun battle raged for more than four hours. The ultras later escaped deep into the jungle,” an official said.

According to him, it could be a strategy on the part of the Maoists to deflect the gaze of the troopers from Sunday’s ghastly assault on four EFR jawans at the Gidhni market where a massive combing operation has been on to track the escape route of the rebels.
The ultras who used AK 47s and 9mm pistol during the attack, had at least four women cadres accompanying them and the operation was reportedly led by a woman who was instructing her men in Hindi.

Even as Bhattacharjee announced his “Bengal Line” at a party rally in West Midnapore district on Sunday,vowing to “drive out all the Maoists in Bengal who are in cahoots with the Trinamool Congress”, Maoist leader Kishenji charged the CM with provoking his partymen and the police for committing crimes on innocent tribals in Lalgarh.

“Policemen (EFR jawans) from the Jamboni camp had been punished as they had tortured innocent children for taking out rallies on Saturday demanding the security forces vacate school buildings which they have been occupying,”Kishenji said.

Meanwhile, West Bengal Home Secretary Ardhendu Sen told newsmen here that police have so far “no proof of any truck” between the Maoists and the Trinamool Congress.  Emboldened by the “admission”  of Sen, Trinamool Congress supremo and Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee declared that the party will shortly file a defamation suit against the chief minister for “publicly maligning the TMC”.

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