Maoist bandh hits 5 states, trains cancelled


- dEsPeraTe cRaNky -

Railways cancelled some trains in Bihar and Orissa and normal life was disrupted in some parts as a two-day bandh called by the Maoists to protest security operations against them began on Tuesday in five states.

The bandh has been called in Jharkhand, Orissa, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal.

Railway sources said in Dhanbad that up and down Patna-Barkakhana passenger and Garhwa-Singhreli trains were cancelled in view of the bandh.

Shaktipunj Express, Ranchi-Varanasi Express, Rajabera-Gomo Express, Tata-Jammu Tavi Express and Howrah-Jabalpur have been diverted via Mughalsarai, they said.

Long distance buses were also off the roads in Maoist affected areas, the police said, adding security forces have been deployed at strategic places.

A passenger train between Biramitrapur and Barasuan in Orissa was also cancelled as a precautionary measure, a Bhubaneswar report said.

Road traffic was affected in various areas of Malkangiri and Koraput districts bordering Chhattisgarh.

In Latehar district, armed ultras set ablaze a tractor at Paradih village.

In two Maoist hit districts of West Midnapore and Purulia in West Bengal, the bandh was nearly total with no private vehicle on the road and all shops, schools and offices closed in the forested areas collectively known as Jungle Mahal, reports from the districts said.

Chhattisgarh on top alert

Security forces stayed fearful in their base camps and life was hit in several parts of Chhattisgarh as a 48-hour strike called by Maoists began on Tuesday.

The shutdown called by the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) began amid fears of fresh attacks and crippled life in Bastar region as well as parts of Rajnandgaon and the rural areas of Raipur and Dhamtari, a senior police official said.

"Passenger buses are off the roads and people are staying indoors. In several Bastar localities, Maoists have blocked roads by putting heavy wooden logs on jungle roads," the official at the police headquarters here said.

"In Bastar, an absolute terror-like situation is prevailing. Forces are hardly moving due to fears of Maoist attacks... they are feeling terrorised at their base camps," said a senior government official based in Jagdalpur, the headquarters of Bastar region.