Life in Bastar crippled on day two of shutdown

Raipur, May 19 (Calcutta Tube) Life in Chhattisgarh’s sprawling Bastar region remained crippled with security forces and people still fearful Wednesday, day two of the 48-hour shutdown called by the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist).

Two days after more than 30 people were killed in Bastar’s Dantewada district when Maoists blasted a passenger bus, civilians and security forces are still scared, sources in the police headquarters here said.

Buses are not plying and jungle paths have been blocked by heavy wooden logs by guerrillas in remote areas of all the five districts — Dantewada, Bijapur, Narayanpur, Bastar and Kanker — that comprise the 40,000 sq km Bastar region, the nerve centre of Maoist militancy since late 1980s.

While there was sigh of relief Tuesday when the first day of the shutdown passed off uneventfully, a police official said there was ‘an absolute terror like situation still prevailing in Bastar’.

‘Some 40,000 state police and paramilitary troopers in Bastar are doing the best to quell insurgency but… you can’t do much against the guerrillas who have converted Bastar into a minefield,’ said an official posted at the state intelligence bureau (SIB) at police headquarters.

The impoverished region has witnessed a string of deadly attacks by Maoists since 2005 after the launch of the controversial government-backed civil militia movement Salwa Judum.

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