Lalgarh/Ranchi (PTI): Groups of Left-wing extremists, which have taken control over almost 50 villages in Lalgarh, consist not only of cadres operating in West Bengal but also from neighbouring Jharkhand and Orissa, Central security agency sources said.
"There are ample inputs suggesting that the Lalgarh operation of the ultras did not take all of a sudden. A slow build up was happening from much earlier. The West Bengal Naxal units are being assisted by those from the neighbouring Jharkhand and Orissa also," sources said.
Pointing out that there was nothing new in Jharkhand-based Naxals operating in West Bengal, they said in earlier incidents, Maoists after carrying out a major attack in Jharkhand use to cross over to West Bengal, which they considered as "safe heaven".
Sources said the Naxals, who are now using women and children as human shields to prevent state and central forces from entering the villages, are also heavily armed. "As per inputs, many of them are carrying AK-47. It is only senior Naxals of commandant level who carry such guns.Even top executive members of the CPI (Maoists) are also present in the area," the sources said.
They, however, said it is unlikely that the senior Naxals would stay put in the area and take on the forces directly."They would most probably withdraw and leave the fight to the local units and the villagers," sources said.Jharkhand police sources said they have been contemplating the possibility of a joint operation with their West Bengal counterparts for over a year but without any success.
"We know that Naxals who operate in Jharkhand keep moving into West Bengal. We are still hopeful that joint or a coordinated operation could be undertaken to take on the extremists," the sources said.The Union Home Ministry has already sent a total of 16 companies (1,600 personnel) including an all-women company to the state to tackle the Lalgarh situation besides about 120 personnel of the elite anti-Naxal force CoBRA.