Fierce gun battles took place on Monday between Maoists and combined security forces at three places in West Midnapore district, a day after four EFR jawans were gunned down by the extremists at Gidhni bazar there.

According to State Home Secretary Ardhendu Sen, the encounters continued for three to four hours. Any casualty or the exact places of occurrence of the gunfights were not known.

About Sunday’s ambush of the EFR jawans, Mr. Sen said there are several police camps in the vast Maoist-hit areas “which are regularly visited by senior officers“.

Mr. Sen said eight persons were killed in the Maoist belt in the previous days.

Asked if the Maoist influence was on the rise in the areas they were dominating, Mr. Sen said, “The situation is changing every moment“.

He said 3,500 new constables would be appointed all over the State. “Forces will be deployed at police stations in the Jangalmahal areas too”. Police deployment will be also made afresh in the civilian areas.

The Home Secretary admitted that the joint forces were yet to fully bring under control Binpur and Garbeta-II blocks where the Maoists have “greater influence”.

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