The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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3 in ambush net, revamp for force

West Midnapore/Purulia, Oct. 18: The crackdown on Naxalites continued with three People’s War and MCC activists being arrested from Bagdoba in west Midnapore this morning.

The details were sent to Purulia police to ascertain if the activists had links with the masterminds of the Bandwan ambush.

Nilmadhab Das, the officer-in-charge of Bandwan police station, was killed on the spot and five policemen injured when a landmine planted by the extremists exploded in the Kantabora forest region on October 11.

“In course of our intensive combing operation in the Bagdoba and Amlasole forest areas for the last one week, we have been able to detain a number of PW and MCC activists. We are probing if they had any links with those who had masterminded the Bandwan ambush. We have sent the details to our counterparts in Purulia,” superintendent of police Praveen Kumar said.

Police sources in west Midnapore confirmed that the extremists arrested in the district have direct links with those active in Purulia.

The ambush spurred a major revamp in the Purulia police set-up and several transfers.

The sources added that a new officer-in-charge has been appointed to fill the void left behind by Das.

Salil Talukdar, a reserve officer posted at the Belguma police lines here, has taken charge from Thursday. Talukdar had previously been the officer-in-charge of Purulia town as well as Jhalda police stations. His second officer is Ramesh Hajra, who was the officer-in-charge, traffic, at Moffussil police station.

Deputy superintendent of police (headquarters) Krishna Kali Lahiri, who was overseeing law and order in south Purulia and the Bandwan region and was part of the police convoy that came under attack, has been transferred to the CID in Calcutta.

She has been replaced by Kalyan Banerjee, the sub-divisional police officer of Bishnupur, Bankura. He is expected to assume charge next week.

District superintendent of police Vineet Kumar Goyal had already been transferred as the Malda superintendent of police before the incident took place.

Goyal was to have taken up his new assignment after the Pujas.

But this has now been deferred till the end of this month because of the Bandwan incident. He will be replaced by his counterpart from Malda, Pankaj Dutta.

Besides the transfers, additional forces have been mobilised in Bandwan. The entire Rapid Action Force of the second battalion of the State Armed Police based in Barrackpore has converged on the forests in which the attack took place. The commanding officer of the unit, Anil Kumar, was especially summoned, as he was aware of the terrain. Kumar was the additional superintendent of police in Purulia till July this year.

In addition, units of Eastern Frontier Rifles as well as personnel from various police stations in the district have been relocated to Bandwan region to help out in the combing operation. Most of these forces have set up a camp at Rasiknagar Junior High School, 3 km from the spot of the land mine blast and ambush.

“We have decided to build one more floor in each of the two buildings of the school so that the students can continue in one building while the camp is set up in the other,” said district magistrate, B.P.Gopalika.

“A wall will be built between the two buildings so that the students are not disturbed by the activities at the camp,” he added.

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