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Top officers in Lalgarh huddle

Feb. 10: Top central and state police officers today met in Lalgarh to work out a fresh strategy to take on the guerrillas.

A meeting in district headquarters Midnapore preceded the one in the heart of Bengal’s Maoist-hit area.

Union home ministry additional secretary (in charge of Maoist affairs) Dipranjan Sarathi Chowdhury, Bengal police chief Bhupinder Singh, two CRPF directors-general — Vikram Srivastava and Vijay Raman — the inspector-general of police (western range) and other senior police and CRPF officers attended the two meetings. They came a day after Union home minister P. Chidambaram held a meeting in Calcutta with four Maoist-affected states — Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa.

The officials flew into Lalgarh on a BSF chopper and left after being closeted in a CRPF camp for an hour. The Midnapore meeting was longer. It went on for two-and-a-half hours from 10am.

“We will not divulge anything. We can only say we are drawing up an elaborate plan to tackle the Maoists,” said West Midnapore superintendent of police Manoj Verma, who was at both meetings.

However, police and CRPF sources said strategies to be adopted in areas bordering Jharkhand and Orissa were discussed. “Soon, we will hold similar meetings with the police in Orissa and Jharkhand,” said a CRPF officer.

Lalgarh is likely to house a control room for the renewed operation.

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