Congress shutdown against Maoist attack hits Chhattisgarh (Lead)

July 14th, 2009 - 8:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Raipur, July 14 (IANS) A dawn to dusk shutdown called by the opposition Congress in Chhattisgarh Tuesday to protest the killing of at least 29 policemen by Maoists crippled life in all districts with the public and business houses voluntarily joining it.
The shutdown was total in all urban areas, including capital Raipur, Bhilai, Raigarh, Korba, Bilaspur and Jagdalpur -the headquarters of the restive Bastar region. Reports say that stick-wielding Congress workers clashed at several places with shopkeepers and enforced the strike.

Congress workers took out rallies in district and block headquarters raising slogans against rising Maoist violence and alleged failure of state’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government to tackle it.

In rural areas too a curfew-like situation prevailed. People also observed the shutdown in Dantewada, Bijapur and Kanker districts that have a large Maoist influence.

All schools and business establishments were closed for the day. Buses and private vehicles remained off the roads.

Petrol pumps, cinema halls and medical stores too were closed but rail services were largely unaffected.

At least 29 policemen were killed Sunday in three separate attacks in Rajnandgaon district in the state’s western region. Those killed included Rajnandgaon Superintendent of Police Vinod Kumar Choubey.

This is for the first time in the three decade old Maoist insurgency that an official of such a high rank has been killed by the rebels.

Several social and industry groups, including the Chhattisgarh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, extended support to the shutdown to express anger over a string of Maoist attacks.

Nearly 1,500 people have been killed in Maoist violence since the state was carved out of Madhya Pradesh in November 2000.

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