Maoists shifting base from Lalgarh to Jhargram?

Maoists have apparently been shifting base from their strongholds in Lalgarh and Belpahari in the last two months.

Updated: Dec 22, 2009, 11:18 AM IST

Kolkata: Maoists have apparently been
shifting base from their strongholds in Lalgarh and Belpahari
in the last two months, with killings and violence
increasingly taking place in Jhargram subdivision, 40 km away
in restive West Midnapore district.

Police sources attribute this to the strong security
presence in Belpahari and Lalgarh. There are seven camps of
the joint security forces in Lalgarh and nine in Belpahari
while there are only three camps in Jhargram and one in

Quoting statistics, the sources said, that around 50
CPI(M) local leaders and supporters were killed around
Jhargram in the last two months, while there was no casualty
in Lalgarh, considered a Maoist stronghold and which had been
wrested by the joint forces earlier this year.

"As there are many camps of the joint forces in and
around Belpahari and Lalgarh, Maoists are not able to operate
there and are shifting to areas around Jhargram," a senior
police officer said to a news agency.

Asked why Jhargram, the officer said Jhargram`s
proximity to Jharkhand was one of the main reasons. "Maoist
can slip away into Jharkhand easily after committing a crime
and it involves time and legal problems for the West Bengal
police to follow them across the border."

However, top maoist leader Kishenji said to a news agency over
phone, "We are not shifting base anywhere. We are always with
the people.We will stand by the people anywhere."

Claiming the support of the people of Jhargram,
Kishenji said, "The government should know that they cannot
control us or the people through force."

Challenging the joint forces, he said, "We are at war
with the state and have our own strategy. The government is
well equipped with police, central force and intelligence
network. Let them catch us."

Jhargram hit the national headlines on October 20 when
Maoists killed two police officers, Dibakar Bhattacharya and
Swapan Roy of Sankrail police station and took the
officer-in-charge Atindranath Dutta hostage.

On October 27, the red brigade detained the New
Delhi-Bhubaneswar Rajdhani Express for nearly eight hours.

On November eight, when Chief Minister Buddhadeb
Bhattacharjee was on a visit to the district, Maoists shot
dead four personnel of the paramilitary Eastern Frontier
Rifles at Gidhni, a police station in Jhargram.

Maoist also torched a deer park from where two black
bucks are still missing and destroyed a huge amount of
property including 25 trucks of a sponge iron factory, three
oil tankers and trucks on NH6 in and around Jhargram recently.