The strategy was to reclaim the "difficult hilly terrain" straggling the border of the two States (Purulia in West Bengal and East Singbhum in Jharkhand)

The anti-Maoist joint operations by West Bengal and Jharkhand have begun on a positive note, with security personnel destroying several militant camps and securing areas hitherto known as liberated zones, West Bengal Director-General of Police Bhupinder Singh said on Thursday.

The strategy was to reclaim the “difficult hilly terrain” straggling the border of the two States (Purulia in West Bengal and East Singbhum in Jharkhand), and to set up security camps along the border, Mr. Singh told The Hindu. The operations were on mainly in the bordering districts of Jharkhand. The West Bengal police were mounting vigil along the border to check Maoist infiltration.

Police sources said that while the security forces set up camps at strategic points in Purulia district and carried out occasional combing operations, the border areas of East Singbhum district barely had any personnel, with police pickets located 40-50 km from the border. It helped Maoists use the zone as a safe passage to escape to Jharkhand whenever the operations were intensified in West Bengal.

“Currently the operations are taking place at the Kannaisara and Teenpahari hills in the Dalma range, which runs between the two States. The forces have come across two fortified Maoist training camps on the Bengal side, though no militant was found there,” Mr. Singh said.

Asked about the task of building up an effective intelligence network among villagers, Mr. Singh said the process was under way. He pointed to the recent raids on Maoist camps and the arrest of several Maoist leaders, including Venkatesh Reddy alias Deepak, to back his point.

Local intelligence network and coordination among the security forces were vital for the success of the operations, especially in West Bengal where Maoists enjoyed considerable local support through their frontal organisations, and where incidents, akin to the Silda camp attack, had occurred mainly because of the communication gap between the forces.

As for strengthening of the manpower and upgrading of the police weaponry and camps in the three affected districts of West Bengal to confront any surprise attack by Maoists, Mr. Singh said the government was “trying to improve the infrastructure as fast as possible.”

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