Salboni (West Midnapore), Feb. 20: A haul of gelatine sticks from the Asanboni and Banageria forests here last night poured water on police claims of having cleared the region of squads of the People’s War and the Maoist Communist Centre.
A police team stumbled upon the sticks while combing the forests with sniffer dogs. They were concealed in the cavities of mahua trees, said deputy inspector-general, Midnapore range, Sadhan Mondal. The explosives can be used to make improvised landmines, he added.
The district police conceded that Naxalite “squads” were still operating in the region despite earlier claims that Salboni, Goaltore and Garbeta were free of such elements.
“First, we thought the explosives were left behind by the militants when they fled the area after we intensified combing a few months ago but the presence of a fresh pack of bidis proved they were there moments before we landed,” said additional superintendent Anil Srinivas.