Maoist strike hits rural Bihar

Patna, July 8 (Calcutta Tube) Life in parts of rural Bihar was badly hit on the second day of a Maoist shutdown Thursday called to protest the killing of one of their top leaders, police sources said.

Police sources told IANS that fear of Maoist violence forced closure of markets in rural areas of East Champaran, Gaya, Aurangabad, Arwal and Jehanabad districts. Long-route buses stayed off the roads.

‘Life in some rural pockets was paralysed,’ a police officer said. ‘Neither shops nor banks were open in these rural pockets.’

Shopkeepers kept their shutters down despite police deployment and the promise of security cover by the administration.

This created difficulties for people in villages during what is a marriage season locally known as ‘Lagan’.

In rural Bihar, complaints of extortion by the rebels during construction and development work is common and often leads to projects being stopped.

Additional Director General of Police P.K. Thakur said there were no reports of any violence during the shutdown. In view of the strike, five trains were cancelled and some diverted.

‘Hundreds of passengers have cancelled their tickets,’ said a railway official.

Spokesman Dilip Kumar said the East Central Railways had taken precaution to ensure that trains didn’t become soft targets.

The outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist called a two-day strike to protest the killing of their leader Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad in Andhra Pradesh. Maoists claim Azad was killed in a staged gunfight after being arrested in Nagpur in Maharashtra.

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