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West Bengal: Special Force to Tackle Maoists

The West Bengal government is raising a counter-insurgency force to be trained by the elite Greyhounds force based in Andhra Pradesh for specialising in counter-guerrilla activities of Maoists active in certain parts of the State.

The matter was discussed at a meeting, where Inspector General of the Greyhound Force Anjani Kumar and State's Director-General of Police, Bhupinder Singh, were present here earlier this week.

Personnel selected from the State Armed Police will receive training at the Greyhounds Academy in Andhra Pradesh that specialises in preparing special commandoes to tackle anti-extremist activity.

The first batch is expected to complete the training process by the end of this year, official sources said.

The Greyhounds force is an elite anti-naxal force that specialises in conducting jungle warfare applying guerrilla tactics to counter those of the Maoists. It has been highly successful in demolition of Maoists' stronghold in Andhra Pradesh.

Jungle warfare

The need for a specialised troop - adept in jungle warfare and matching up to the guerrilla tactics adopted of the Maoists - has been talked about repeatedly for taking on the ultras in the region since the police as well as the Central paramilitary forces are not trained for operating under such extreme conditions.

Meanwhile, Mr. Singh met high-ranked police officials from Jharkhand and the Central Reserve Police Force on Friday at an undisclosed location in the State's Paschim Medinipur district to discuss the outcomes of the first phase of the inter-State anti-Maoist joint operations and chalk out the strategy for the next phase of offensive.

"During the meeting, we discussed on matters of mutual concern," Mr. Singh toldThe Hindu.

Mr. Singh also hinted that the next phase might witness operations on the Orissa front too and with the recent deployment of Central forces in Orissa, the possibility of launching a coordinated joint security operation along the borders of West Bengal, Jharkhand and Orissa is high.

Though the first phase of operation, which was based on specific intelligence inputs, at the West Bengal-Jharkhand border yielded positive results like reclamation of many hitherto liberated zones and razing down of several Maoist camps, there had been no significant arrests or recovery.

(The Hindu, 20th March)