Budha Pahar, a Maoist stronghold for past three decades on the border of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, has almost been freed from the extremists, claimed Jharkhand police on Sunday.

Jharkhand Director General of Police (DGP) Neeraj Sinha along with his team reached the well-known hill, which has been ‘safe hideout’ for top Maoists leaders for decades, on Sunday, an official statement said. Security forces have been making efforts to take control of the region for years but they had to suffer a lot during the operation. The Maoists had planted Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) on every road leading up to the hill.

“For the past one year, a strategic joint operation by the security forces especially the ‘Operation Octopus’ finally proved effective and the hill now almost made free from the Maoists,” the release said.

Under the ‘Operation Octopus’ on September 4-5 of this month, a large number of bunkers of Maoists were captured, 106 landmines of different types and a huge amount of explosive materials were seized along with bullets, police said.

The DGP on Sunday interacted with the local villagers and assured them that they are now not only free from the fear of Maoists, but they will also be provided complete security by the security forces. He also distributed items of daily needs among the villagers.

In bid to stop Maoists from re-establishing their base at the hill, camps of the security forces will be established. Construction work of basic facilities like hospital, school, road and others will also be started for the villagers of this area, the release said.