| A CRPF team on patrol in Sonachura. Picture by Pradip Sanyal
Nandigram, Nov. 13: The Central Reserve Police Force and local police today found four landmines in Sonachura and said they were the sort used by Jharkhand’s Maoists.
The central force also seized three rifles in the village — believed to have been the Opposition and Maoist hub — including a .303, a make of rifle used only by the police.
“Such explosives are used generally by Maoists in Jharkhand. Their recovery clearly indicates the presence of Maoists in the area… whether they operated from here or just trained people,” said CRPF deputy inspector-general Alok Raj, whose men spotted two of the mines on a mud road.
“We have told our personnel to move cautiously. I am sure there are many more mines planted in Sonachura. We have information that arms and ammunition are piled up in Nandigram and Khejuri.”
He added: “We are trying to find out how they got hold of a .303 rifle that is used only by the police. The other two were country-made guns.”
The central force, which raided homes in Nandigram villages without facing any resistance today and set up five camps, will tomorrow go to CPM stronghold Khejuri.
The CID’s bomb disposal squad defused the two mines. Later in the evening, the local police found two more. The rifles lay in an abandoned hut in Jellingham, about 20km from Nandigram town.
“The mines were deadly, capable of huge impact. Each had a detonator and a bomb tied to it with a long rope,” Raj said.
The CRPF held flag marches and patrolled several villages. Later, Raj led a company to Gokulnagar and Garchakraberia.
Gokulnagar had red flags everywhere. Hundreds of frightened people stepped out of their homes as the troops marched in. Raj stopped near a house where a group of people, huddled in the yard, saluted him. “Is this a CPM office'” he asked. “No sir,” came the reply.
“We are here to help you. Don’t fear anything, we will ensure your safety,” the officer said.
The CRPF set up camps at Nandigram College, Khodambari and the high schools at Gokulnagar, Sonachura and Rajaramchowk. It carried out raids at Sonachura, Gokulnagar, Adhikarypara and other villages.
“We will enter Khejuri tomorrow and set up two camps deep inside violence-hit areas,” an officer said.