Kolkata: While the West Bengal government has appealed the Maoists to lay down their arms and engage in peace talks, the state government has decided to shift six out of the 18 teams of the elite Combat Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA), currently involved in the joint operation, from the naxal-infested Jangalmahal region (West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia).

As per reports the teams have been shifted to the neighbouring Jharkhand.

According to one of the officials of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), intelligence report suggest that the present condition in Jangalmahal does not require such a large contingent of the elite force.

"CoBRA is a specialised force engaged in combing operation. Following the standard operational procedures, CoBRA has controlled Maoists activities in the Jangalmahal region," he said.

Replying to a question whether the decision has been taken after instructions from the state government to prepare environment for talks with the Maoists, the official said, "There is hardly any need to adopt soft attitude towards Maoists. We are simply working on suggested reports by the intelligence and accordingly the forces are being shifted to Jharkhand."

He informed that out of the 18 CoBRA teams, six teams have been shifted to Bokaro in Jharkhand to carry out combing operation on Bengal-Jharkhand border.

According to CRPF, the number of CoBRA personnel in a team ranged from five to 35 which depend on the nature of the area of operation. The force was deployed on June 18, 2009 in Jangalmahal.

In the last two years, the joint forces supported by CoBRA have been successful in combating Maoist activities in the region.

JPN/Bureau