Manoj Verma, SP, West Midnapore said the firing took place in various forests of Lalgarh. According to the West Midnapore police, Lakhiram Hembram, a Maoist, and two villagers were injured in the firing. Hembram was injured at Bhulagera and was admitted to the Jhargram hospital.
Two locals, Sailen Murmu and Swapan Mahato, were also injured and were taken to the Midnapore hospital.
The joint forces continued their search operations in the forests at Lalgarh and adjoining areas. But the Maoist groups escaped from the area, said Verma.
Two policemen Kanchan Giri and Sabir Molla had left the police camp at Dharampur for shopping at Lalgarh on Thursday evening. They were allegedly abducted by a group of 15-20 armed Maoists at Brindabanpur when they were returning on a motorcycle. They were reportedly taken by the Maoists to a nearby forest at Bhulagera and confined the two policemen in a hut.
According to the police, search operations at Bhulagera forest started on Friday morning. Verma said the Maoists opened fire on security forces when they entered the Bhulagera village. The two policemen were taken inside the forest amid the exchange of fire, said Verma. A search operation is on to trace the abducted cops, said Verma.
According to West Midnapore police, Maoists fired at the police in Purnapani, Bhulagera, Thakurani and its adjoining areas when the joint forces tried to enter. In retaliation, the joint forces also opened fire at the Maoists and the exchange of fire continued for two hours. No security personnel was injured, said Verma.