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Maoist strike begins in Chhattisgarh

Raipur, July 7 (Calcutta Tube) A two-day shutdown by the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) began Wednesday in Chhattisgarh’s restive Bastar region amid fear of violence and tight security arrangements, police said.

Bus services were hit as transporters kept their vehicles off roads fearing attacks, a senior official at police headquarters here told IANS.

‘Rebels have placed heavy wooden logs in jungle interior roads of Bijapur and Dantewada,’ the police official said.

Also, buses were not plying on National Highway 221 in Dantewada district and National Highway 16 in Bijapur district.

According to police, the strike had no impact in urban areas but hit life in interiors of 40,000 sq km Bastar region that is made up of five districts – Narayanpur, Kanker, Bastar, Dantewada and Bijapur.

‘Security has been tightened in government buildings, schools and hospitals in Bastar region. So far no violence has been reported from anywhere,’ said T.J. Longkumer, inspector general of police, Bastar range.

Bastar is considered the nerve centre of Maoist militancy in India as guerrillas have been running a parallel government in forested interiors since late 1980s. In over 500 villages, even police can’t dare to enter.

Strike has also hit life in certain pockets of state’s western Rajnandgaon district bordering Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district.

Maoists called the strike Wednesday and Thursday to protest the killing of their top leader Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad in an alleged shootout July 2 in Andhra Pradesh’s Adilabad district.

Chhattisgarh has been rocked by a series of blasts and gunfights in 2010. In the past three months, the state witnessed killings of 150 people, mostly security personnel.

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