Build-up for circle of sway Forces plan to ring Lalgarh

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By PRONAB MONDAL AND NARESH JANA in Lalgarh
  • Published 22.06.09
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Goaltore/Lalgarh, June 22: Security forces are hoping to string together a “circle of domination” in Lalgarh, working to a plan that involves a step-by-step approach in an area where Maoists are also marshalling troops.

Central and state police from Bankura’s Sarenga advanced towards Pingboni near Goaltore today, clearing pockets of Maoist resistance.

At the same time, the state police stationed in Goaltore, reinforced this morning with more state and central forces, including members of the CRPF’s Cobra unit, got ready to join them to launch the final joint assault on the Ramgarh Maoist stronghold.

When the joint forces clear the way up to Ramgarh, the force stationed in Lalgarh will move towards Ramgarh via Kantapahari, securing the route along the way.

“We already have domination over the road from Pirakata to Lalgarh,” an officer explained.

“After the joint force from Goaltore moves to Ramgarh, they will have established domination over that route as well. The next step would be to secure the Lalgarh-Ramgarh route and this will be achieved by the force which will move up from Lalgarh. The final step would be to dominate the Goaltore-Pirakata road, where there is no resistance. Then, we would have achieved a perfect circle of domination.”

Once this circle is in place, the police will start moving into the villages within the circle and sanitise them.

“This circle will ensure that the entire Lalgarh area is sewn up with our forces, forming a ring that will prevent the Maoists from escaping,” the officer said.

But the police are aware that this is easier said than done. The Maoists are said to be pulling out all stops to block the march of the force from Pingboni to Ramgarh, a distance of 9km.

At Ratanpur, 4km from Pingboni on the way to Ramgarh, the Maoists, under the banner of the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities, have set up a “checkpost” manned by young men with bow and arrows.

Next to it, about 15 youths could be seen lounging near a tin shed with rifles slung across their shoulders. They were all in trackpants and T-shirts, some were sporting caps. Some of their rifles were improvised and country-made, while some were .303s; two were AK-47 assault rifles.

Inside the tin shed were piles of rucksacks, butts of guns sticking out.

From the “checkpost” were two kuchcha roads leading to the villages. No “outsider” was allowed access to these roads. It is believed that in these villages are billets for the Maoists’ action squads.

“There will be heavy resistance,” warned one of the armed youths near the shed. “In Pingboni (4km from Goaltore), the CPM has brought in armed cadres as well, and is also stockpiling arms. So, accordingly, we have increased our strength and firepower.”

The members of the Cobra unit who reached Goaltore today conducted reconnaissance of the area with the state armed police.

The police said that the combined forces, including a company of BSF jawans which yesterday joined the CRPF and the state police advancing from Sarenga, have set up a base camp at Majuria High School, about 5km from Pingboni.

Between last evening and this morning, there was a massive mobilisation of forces in Goaltore. Four more companies of state police and one company of the CRPF, totalling about 500 policemen, reached there.