Maoist shutdown in five states evokes partial response (Roundup)

June 22nd, 2009 - 9:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, June 22 (IANS) A 48-hour shutdown called by Maoists left life paralysed in the rebel-affected areas in West Bengal, while incidents of violence were reported in Orissa and Jharkhand Monday.
In Chhattisgarh, the shutdown had no effect, including in the Maoist-affected Bastar region, and Bihar too reported no incidents of violence.

In Bankura, West Midnapore and Purulia districts, in the western parts of West Bengal, the shutdown saw vehicular traffic go off the roads, streets deserted and shops and business establishments closed.

Security was heightened across the state, particularly in the three districts, in view of the shutdown. Police patrolled the streets and guarded vital installations and carried out checks in trains and buses, said a senior police officer.

West Midnapore district magistrate N.S. Nigam told IANS: “Movement of vehicles was affected in some parts of the districts. Shops also remained closed.”

In Bankura district, normal life was paralysed in areas where the rebels have a strong base.

A South Eastern Railway source said train services over the Purulia-Birmadih section were disrupted after the Maoists threatened the station master and some gangmen and a suspected bomb planted by the rebels was found close to the Birmadih station.

Bomb squad personnel were rushed to the spot.

Reports from Jhargram sub-division, within which Lalgarh falls, 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.

A Maoist leader, Raju Bauri, was arrested for his alleged role in the murder of a Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) activist.

The shutdown evoked partial response in Orissa even as two rebels were killed in a gun battle with security forces, police said.

“There are certain areas where they (Maoists) have presence. They blocked traffic in those areas. Some places saw very thin traffic,” Sudhanshu Sarangi, inspector general of police (operations), told IANS.

“The areas where the impact of the ‘bandh’ (shutdown) was felt were Malkangiri, Koraput and Sundergarh districts,” the official said.

The authorities did not ply goods train in Sundergarh district as a preventive measure.

In Bihar, rural areas in the Maoist-hit districts of Aurangabad, Gaya and Jehanabad saw vehicles keeping off the road and markets shut in fear of reprisal attacks by the rebels. However, there were no reports of violence.

In Jharkhand, Maoists blew up an anti-landmine vehicle carrying security forces near Boramora jungle of East Singbhum district and also fired at the security personnel trapped inside the vehicle.

Forces were sent to rescue them, and there were no injuries. A live bomb was found

on a railway track in Kharsawa district while four people - including Maoist leader Sanatan Bakshi was arrested in Dumka.

“Sanatan Bakshi was arrested Sunday night after a firefight. Sanatan is a hard core member of the red squad of the Maoist group. Two people who were supplying arms were arrested and a fourth person was arrested as Maoist rebels used to stay in his house,” Arun Kumar Singh, Dumka superintendent of police (SP), told IANS over the phone.

In Chhattisgarh, normal life remained unaffected even in the rebels’ stronghold of southern Bastar.

The home department relocated hundreds of security men to government facilities in the state’s interiors, mainly in Bastar.

Heavy security was in place in school buildings and government offices and some forest areas vulnerable to Maoist attacks, but the first day of the strike passed off peacefully.

“There is no information of any sort of violence from any part of the state, even in restive Bastar. Normal life remained unaffected, except in two places in Bijapur and Dantewada districts where the insurgents placed heavy logs to block the roads but security men cleared the roads,” T.J. Longkumer, inspector general of Bastar, said.

Shops were also open in all five districts in the vast mineral rich Bastar region - Dantewada, Bijapur, Narayanpur, Kanker and Bastar.

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