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Joint operation to drive out rebels

Jamshedpur, Feb. 26: A team of East Singhbhum and Bengal police today launched a massive operation in Patamda-Ghatshila along the Bengal border to flush out rebels feared to have come from the neighbouring state.

The interstate offensive was prompted by a tip-off that an armed squad of Naxalites had sneaked into Patamda’s Meghda Pahar from Purulia district of Bengal following an offensive there yesterday.

According to senior superintendent of police Akhilesh Kumar Jha, who is leading the operation, Jharkhand has pressed into action six companies of CRPF and one company of Special Task Force. From Bengal, an equal number of paramilitary personnel have joined the fight.

“We have gheraoed Patamda-Meghada Pahar and Amda Pahar from all sides. But as of now, we have not found any sign of the Maoists. However, the main objective is to turn the heat on the rebels so that they are forced to flee Meghada Pahar,” he said.

A senior district police officer said they received information about entry of the rebels into Meghda Pahar yesterday itself. “But at that moment, we did not have adequate personnel at our disposal and rushing to the spot with a small police team would have been unsafe. Hence, we delayed any action and waited for more forces before heading out for the hills. As a result, the rebels might have either sneaked out of the area or taken refuge in some hideout,” the officer said.

Jha also informed that another anti-insurgency operation was being carried out by paramilitary personnel and district police at Ghurabandha block in Ghatshila sub-division since yesterday. SP (rural) Rajiv Ranjan Singh and other senior police officers are taking part in it.

According to intelligence sources, armed rebel squads have been frequenting between Purulia, Bengal, and places like Meghda Pahar, Rajabasa, Tungra, Budhaburi Pahar and Amda Pahar in Patamda and areas bordering Bengal under Bodam police station since the past four-five months.