Shutdown against Obama trip peaceful in Chhattisgarh (Lead)

November 8th, 2010 - 7:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Raipur, Nov 8 (IANS) A Maoist-sponsored shutdown against US President Barack Obama’s India visit went off peacefully in Chhattisgarh Monday with no buses plying in areas dominated by the rebels as well as some national highways and weekly markets deserted, officials said.

Transporters had kept vehicles off the roads in the forested interiors of the Maoist stronghold of Bastar, spread over 40,000 sq km, while weekly markets in tribal dominated areas had only a few people shopping for essentials.

Though the guerrillas put heavy logs across roads in some places to enforce the strike, there was no violence, officials said, adding that security had been stepped up along highways, key roads and railway tracks in the state, one of the worst hit by Maoist militancy.

“The presence of security forces has been strengthened in areas vulnerable to Maoist attacks, key roads and rail tracks under East Coast Railways in the state’s Bastar region are being patrolled,” an official at the police headquarters here said.

The outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) has called a 24-hour shutdown from Sunday midnight till Monday midnight to protest Obama’s four-day India visit.

Officials added that though Maoists had significant presence in nine of the state’s 18 districts, the shutdown had hit life only in Bijapur, Dantewada, Narayanpur and Rajnandgaon districts. Buses remained off the road on national highway 221 in Dantewada and national highway 16 in Bijapur.

Chhattisgarh is known as the nerve centre of Maoist militancy in India where Maoist violence has claimed over 2,100 casualties in the past one decade. The biggest ever attack was carried out by Maoists in April this year, in which 76 troopers were massacred.

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