The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Maoists get cops up & running
- Burdwan police draw up blueprint to stem menace

Durgapur, July 8: Burdwan police are drawing up a blueprint to combat the growing Naxalite menace in this district after the recent arrests of six Maoists.

The police went into overdrive after Saturday night's arrests of a Naxalite trio holding a secret meeting in Jangalmahal forest region followed by another from the Coke Oven area the next day. So far, they have been under the impression that the menace is confined to Bankura, Purulia and West Midnapore.

Last night, two more alleged Maoists were picked up: a Durgapur Steel Plant employee, Dhajadhari Chatterjee, from his Hospital Road home, and a local salesman, Sushen Mahato, from his Mining Allied and Machineries Corporation colony residence. Several documents and posters were also seized.

Intelligence sources said the arrested Maoists confirmed links with hardcore guerrillas in Bankura, Purulia and West Midnapore.

'It appears the Naxalites are trying to build a base in the forest area and rope in tribal villagers,' Burdwan police superintendent N.K. Singh said today.

'We have got the names of more Maoists active in the district. Last night's raid was a part of ongoing operations against the extremists. We hope to make more arrests.'

To clamp down on the growing menace, the police are planning to launch a door-to-door drive to persuade people to keep off the Maoists and not be drawn towards them.

The police and the intelligence branch will maintain a joint round-the-clock vigil in the Jangalmahal region, which covers the Kanksa, Laudoha, Aushgram and Guskara police station areas. These are underdeveloped pockets, peopled mostly by tribals.

The officials, dressed in plain clothes, will mingle with villagers so that they can collect data on their socio-economic condition.

The police will also keep track of people visiting these areas and prepare monthly reports on their activities and whereabouts. The reports will be scrutinised by senior intelligence officials and the police.

The Government Railway Police have been asked to maintain vigil on train passengers. An eye will also be kept on major bus termini for suspicious characters. 'If we find anyone moving about suspiciously, we will detain them for interrogation,' a senior official said.

Although the police claim the Maoists are not planning any immediate strikes, a special training programme on locating and deactivating landmines and explosives will be held for select officers and constables. They will also be trained to tackle ambush situations.

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