Maoist shutdown evokes mixed response, normal life affected (Lead)June 23rd, 2009 - 10:13 pm ICT by IANS
Kolkata, June 23 (IANS) Suspected Maoists torched CPI-M offices, blew up a village council building and blocked roads as the 48-hour shutdown they called in five states to protests security operations in Lalgarh evoked mixed responses on the second day Tuesday. In West Bengal, normal life in rebel strongholds continued to be disrupted.
Vehicular traffic kept off the streets, shops and markets were closed and people remained indoors in large parts of the three western districts - Bankura, Purulia and West Midnapore - of West Bengal where the Maoists have a strong base.
In West Midnapore’s Jhargram area and Purulia’s Burrabazar, suspected guerrillas Monday night set afire and ransacked offices of the main ruling party, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).
“In both cases, the miscreants left raising Maoists slogans,” said a police official.
Police and central forces were seen patrolling the roads with anti-mine vehicles in West Midnapore and Bankura districts.
“There is always a mixed impact to such shutdown calls. In parts of these districts, where the Maoists are active, normal life has suffered as people are in fear. But life is normal in parts where there are no rebels,” state Inspector General of Police (Western Range) Kuldip Singh told IANS over telephone.
Some small shops were open and a few buses were plying, he said.
In Jharkhand, around 10 to 15 Maoist rebels blew up an empty village council building in Chahapur of Palamau district, about 190 km from the state capital Ranchi.
Police arrested three Maoist rebels, including a woman, from a nursing home in Bokaro district. They also arrested the nursing home owner.
The Maoist strike made impact in rural areas of the state. Long-route buses were not plying and mining activities were affected in some parts of the state.
The shutdown hit life in several parts of Chhattisgarh with guerrillas blocking roads and disrupting traffic on key highways.
Though life remained unaffected Monday and no incidents of violence were reported, police said the shutdown impacted life in Bastar bordering Orissa and Andhra Pradesh, and in northern Surguja district that shares a border with Jharkhand.
Dozens of people were stranded at bus stands with no vehicles ready to move into the red zone, said a police official.
From early morning Tuesday, guerrillas had placed heavy logs to block roads in their stronghold Bastar that includes the districts of Dantewada, Bijapur, Narayanpur, Kanker and Bastar. This disrupted traffic on the national highways.
In Surguja, owners of passenger and commercial vehicles kept their vehicles off the roads, fearing attacks.
The Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) called for the 48-hour shutdown in West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Orissa and Jharkhand demanding withdrawal of the clampdown by joint forces of the central and West bengal governments in Lalgarh.
Central security personnel and state police started the operation to flush out Maoist rebels from the Lalgarh area of West Midnapore after the ultras teamed up with tribal People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) to establish a virtual ‘free zone’.
The rebels had torched police camps and CPI-M offices, besides killing several ruling party activists.
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Tags: chhattisgarh, communist party of india, communist party of india marxist, jhargram, jharkhand, kuldip singh, maoist, maoist rebels, maoists, midnapore, miscreants, police official, purulia, ranchi, route buses, security operations, state inspector general, strongholds, vehicular traffic, west bengal