`Maoists regrouping in West Bengal`
New Delhi: With joint-security operations virtually at a standstill in West Bengal, Maoists have started regrouping and recruiting cadres in the eastern state, intelligence inputs point.
The inputs received by the Home Ministry from three West Bengal districts -- West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia, have suggested that the Naxals have been able to lure a sizable number of youths and recruit them for armed training.
The recruitment drive and activities of the Maoists have intensified after Mamata Banerjee took charge as the chief minister since her government favoured talks with the ultras and virtually suspended all operations against them.
Besides, the three West Bengal districts have become meeting and shelter points for Naxals operating in neighboring Orissa, Jharkhand and Bihar, they said.
There have been reports that `village defence squads` were being formed by Naxal supporters in many villages and extortion notices reportedly served to many businessmen and CPI (M) sympathizers.
Central security agencies were also worried over the Trinamool Congress government`s proposal to release 46 "political prisoners" -- most of whom were Maoists sympathizers -- as it would give more ammunition to the Naxals to regroup and revive snapped contacts, they said.
In the recent conference of DGPs of nine Maoist-hit states, concerns were expressed over many Naxals sneaking into West Bengal after facing operation of security forces in the neighbouring states.
Citing examples of the northeast, where insurgent groups often declare ceasefire whenever they face heat from the security forces and try to regroup, sources said same tactics were being applied by the Naxals in West Bengal by avoiding police.
In the three districts, where more than 400 people lost their lives last year and a few more were also killed in the run up to the Assembly elections, no one was killed in any Naxal violence in West Bengal since the new government assumed charges.
The government also has not launched any major offensive against the extremists, the sources said.
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