Iron ore movement hit in Chhattisgarh

July 29th, 2008 - 6:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Raipur, July 29 (IANS) Iron ore movement from Chhattisgarh’s southern insurgency affected Bastar region has been hit as goods trains were suspended at night for a week during which Maoist guerrillas “pay tribute to rebels killed by the police”, officials said here Tuesday. Railway officials announced the suspension of goods train carrying iron ore from Dantewada district’s Kirandul sites of the National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) to Andhra Pradesh’s port city Visakhapatnam during night this week.

The lone passenger train on the Kottavalasa-Kirandul line has been also been stopping in Jagdalpur, headquarters of Bastar district, and will contiune to do so this week.

Thousands of security forces deployed in Bastar, an area of about 40,000 sq km, have been put on high alert as the annual event of the Maoist insurgents witnessed widespread violence and attacks on government installations in the past.

The banned rebel terror outfit, Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist), holds what it calls “martyrs’ week” every year to pay homage to their colleagues killed in clashes with the police and paramilitary forces.

Public transporters kept their vehicles off the roads in interior Bijapur, Dantewada, Narayanpur, Kanker and Bastar districts, fearing attacks by Maoist guerrillas.

The state’s iron-ore rich Bastar region has been the epicentre of Maoist violence for years. Early this month, the state government told the assembly that Chhattisgarh witnessed 1,093 killings, including of 726 civilians, between Jan 1, 2004 and June 20, 2008, in Maoist insurgency-related violence.

The police estimates that around 5,000 hardcore Maoists armed with AK-47 rifles, rocket launchers and landmines, backed by nearly 20,000 cadres, are active in Bastar.

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