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The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Joint combat with Bengal

Bokaro, June 7: Bengal and Jharkhand police have decided to launch joint operations to crack down on Maoists from Andhra who are using the bordering areas of the neighbouring states as a safe haven.

Led by IG (western range) Gangeshwar Singh, senior police officers from Bengal met their Jharkhand counterparts headed by Coal Belt IG (North Chotanagpur) Murarilal Meena and decided to focus on a 250sqkm area that comprises Dhanbad, Bokaro and Giridih on one side and Purulia, Durgapur, Asansol and Bankura on the other.

Meena said the meeting, held for over three hours at Bokaro Niwas, discussed three major areas of cooperation. “Our mission is against Maoists, economic offenders and criminals who operate in the border areas. We discussed strategies and information sharing mechanisms,” he said.

According to sources, the police officers identified several top-level Maoists leaders like Kundan Pahan and Ajay Mahto, besides exchanging lists of names of more than two dozen rebels and big-time criminals of Bihar who were operating in the area.

Singh said Bengal police had decided to crack down on rebels, especially those who were crossing over to Jharkhand whenever combing operations were launched.

“Joint operations will, therefore, be carried out with mutual cooperation to not only check the Maoist menace but to also curb coal and metal scrap smuggling that was rampant in the areas bordering Dhanbad,” he said.

Besides Singh, among the others who were part of the meeting from Bengal were DIG (Midnapur zone) L.N. Meena, Purulia SP Sudhakar and two DSPs. Jharkhand was represented by coal belt DIG Laxman Singh, Bokaro SP Kuldip Dwivedi, Bokaro DSP P.N Singh, besides Meena.