Parts of Orissa paralysed as Maoists observe ‘martyrs’ week’

July 29th, 2008 - 12:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, July 29 (IANS) Life remained paralysed Tuesday in some Maoist-strongholds of Orissa as the “martyrs’ week” being observed by the leftist insurgents entered its second day. Vehicles were off the roads, schools and shops were closed in parts of Malkangiri district amid fear of attacks by Maoist rebels who are observing “martyrs’ week” to pay homage to their colleagues killed in the past one year in clashes with police and paramilitary troopers.

On July 28, 1972, rebel leader Charu Majumdar, founder of the Maoist movement that had its roots in agrarian unrest in West Bengal in the late 1960s, died in police custody.

The rebels observe “martyrs’ week” to coincide with his death anniversary.

The state government has beefed up security in more than half of the state’s 30 districts, where the rebels are said to be active. No untoward incident has been reported, according to the home department.

In some parts of the Maoist-stronghold Malkangiri district public and private transporters kept their vehicles off the roads on their own as schools, shops and other businesses also remained closed.

The Maoists have erected memorials to pay homage to their dead colleagues, according to some eyewitnesses.

Due to heavy rain in the past few days, communication links to some areas are cut off, district police chief Satish Gajbhiye said.

In Malkangiri, located about 700 km from the state capital here, at least 17 policemen were killed in a guerrilla attack July 16.

At least 38 policemen were killed in a separate incident June 29 after their motor launch capsized in Balimela Dam in the district following an attack by Maoists from a hillock.

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