After recapturing the Maoists hub Kantapahari, security forces are further consolidating their hold over areas held by the rebels in West Midnapore district with combing operations launched in 22 villages of Lalgarh.
A senior police officer said that borders of Lalgarh had been sealed after winning control of Kantapahari.
“Now we want to ensure that the extremists do not come back to the area. We are consolidating the position we have gained so far,” said one police officer.
According to him, Maoists rebels might have fled from West Midnopore disctrict and gone to abutting Jharkhand following their stronghold in Lalgarh fell to security forces.
With offensive against Maoists entering the 13th day, central forces and state police are occupied with sanitizing all 22 villages of Lalgarh.
On Monday, the forces searched Baropelia, Chotopelia, Dalilpur chowk and other villages for suspected Maoists and possible arms and ammunition.
The police suspect that Maoists may still be present in some pockets like Sejua, Koima and Kalimuri. At Salgora village in the Sejua area, the forces recovered ammunition and also detained three suspected Maoists.
A PTI correspondent went through 12 villages on and found there were hardly any people left except some old and infirm persons.
Starting their operation on June 18, the security forces have gained control over Pirakata, Bhimpur, Lalgarh, Ramgarh and Kantapahari.
A task force comprising eight secretaries is scheduled to arrive today in Lalgarh to oversee development work in tribal areas and help the government prepare an economic development package for them