Maoist shutdown has partial impact in West BengalJune 22nd, 2009 - 1:35 pm ICT by IANS
Kolkata, June 22 (IANS) Security was heightened throughout West Bengal Monday as a 48-hour Maoist shutdown to protest operations in Lalgarh came into force with a partial response in the three districts where the left radicals have their sphere of influence.
Buses and other vehicles were seen in fewer numbers, while shops and business establishments remained closed in several areas of the West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts.
A South Eastern Railway source said train services over the Purulia-Birmadih section were disrupted after the Maoists threatened the station master and a suspected bomb was found close to the Birmadih station.
Bomb squad personnel have been sent to the spot.
“There are fewer number of buses and other vehicles on the roads. While one of the reasons may be the shutdown call, many of the vehicles have been requisitioned by the security forces for the Lalgarh operation,” Inspector General of Police (Western Range) Kuldip Singh told IANS over phone.
Police patrol vehicles, were, however, out in large numbers to prevent any untoward incidents, he said.
Reports from Jhargram sub-division, under which Lalgarh comes, said the shutdown had a considerable impact in Jhargram town and some other areas with vehicular traffic going off the roads and streets remaining deserted. Shops and business establishments also downed shutters in the town.
Security was intensified across the state in view of the shutdown call, with the central government warning that the Maoist rebels could carry out armed attacks on trains and buses and other installations.
The Maoist rebels have called the shutdown in West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Orissa and Jharkhand demanding that the clampdown by joint forces of the centre and state government in Lalgarh be withdrawn.
The central security personnel and West Bengal police started the operation to flush out Maoist rebels from the Lalgarh area of West Midnapore after the ultras teamed up with a tribal body People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) to establish a virtual free zone.
The rebels torched police camps and offices of the state’s ruling communists, besides killing several of their party activists.