Raktima Bose

KOLKATA: There was heavy exchange of fire between the security forces and Maoists in areas adjacent to Lalgarh on Friday, the ninth day of the joint operation by the paramilitary forces and the West Bengal police against Maoists and the Maoist-backed Police Santrosh Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee.

Landmine blasts

Maoists set off landmines as the security forces moved deeper into the Lalgarh area from the Goaltore end and re-captured Kadasol, 14 km from Lalgarh. Several improvised explosive devices were recovered and defused.

After adopting a go-slow attitude in the operations after the capture of the Lalgarh police station on June 20, the security forces embarked on the task of reclaiming Ramgarh (7 km from Lalgarh).

The fresh offensive was launched from Goaltore at daybreak involving six companies of the Central Reserve Police Force, two companies of the State police and two companies of the India Reserve Battalion.

A group of 15 Maoists opened fire on the forces at the dense Kadasol forest, 7 km from Goaltore.

A gun battle followed and the Maoists fled after 45 minutes of exchange of fire, Inspector-General of Police (Law and Order) Raj Kanojia told The Hindu.

Suspecting that the Maoists might have planted landmines on the metalled road, the forces advanced through the fields on both sides of the road.

“The Maoists triggered three landmine blasts in which none of the joint force personnel was injured. The bomb detection squad of the Criminal Investigation Department defused seven mines, while three were exploded in a controlled manner,” Mr. Kanojia said.

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